Ivacy VPN Review: is it really that good?
Ivacy is a well-known VPN, or virtual private network, that has begun to garner serious recognition among techies. In this review, we’ll analyze the services and features Ivacy provides and help you decide whether it’s the right VPN for your needs. Among the top pro-Ivacy points we’ll make are its extreme affordability, large server network, and effective unblocking services for streaming sites. However, you’ll see that all is not perfect with Ivacy, and there is some room for improvement in the future.
For more information on how VPNs work and an in-depth examination of why you need one, check out our “What is a VPN?” page.
At its most basic, a VPN is simply a network of servers spread across various locations around the world. By connecting to the internet through a VPN like Ivacy, you are able to hide your personal data, such as your IP address, your actual location, and even your online activity. Most VPNs have a no-logs policy, which means they do not keep data on how users use the service. People often use them for privacy and security as well, since anonymous web browsing helps prevent hacking and other cybercrimes.
Ivacy, on the whole, is in a good place as a VPN. It offers a decent price for monthly subscriptions and year-long plan, falling at the cheaper end of the spectrum. Even better, Ivacy has a running New Year’s sale at the time of this writing, which allows users to sign up for a five-year usage term at only $1 per month. That is significant value, and even the cheapest versions of many other VPN services run at least double that price.
However, you’ll see below that there are some issues with performance, speed, and security protocols that need to be sorted out sooner rather than later.
Pros & Cons
It’s always helpful to see a list of the good and the bad when it comes to VPNs. We’ve collected some information that might be of use to you below
- Lots of features
- Very effective at unblocking most popular streaming services
- 2019 Pro-Privacy Awards Best Speed winner
- Extremely affordable; you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better deal
- Dedicated Kodi app, which is not always the case with VPNs
- No-log policy
- Very torrent-friendly
- Malware protection
- Works with:
- Some reported issues with its Windows version
- Despite awards, its speeds are reportedly average in most cases
- No independent security audit
- Doesn’t use WireGuard protocol
Pricing is one of the areas in which Ivacy is on the cutting edge. Its month-to-month rates run a little over $10, and that’s a pretty average-to-low price for a typical or comparable VPN. If you sign up for a year’s worth of subscription to Ivacy, you’ll pay just $3.50 per month (a total of $42 per year). However, the real deal is when you sign up for five years. That costs only $60 total, at the astonishing price of only $1 per month! For comparison, we were impressed with other companies’ offers like PureVPN’s seven-day trial for $1. But where PureVPN gives you a week-long trial, Ivacy gives you five years. That’s an amazing deal.
The only downside to this is that the best value is such a long-term subscription. You might not need a VPN for five years, and it’s hard to know whether you will, regardless. Dedicating half a decade to a subscription can be more than most users want to do.
CyberGhost also occasionally offers special prices on a limited-time basis. Usually, though, it does this by taking away its three-year plan while the special runs.
Slow speeds are the absolute bane of internet users across the globe. There’s nothing worse than browsing the internet, downloading an important work document, or trying to torrent that song you can’t find anywhere else only to have your connection speed slow to a crawl.
The problem is that the security and privacy measures that many VPNs use, coupled with the difficulty of connecting to a server half a world away, can cause users to experience slow speeds. Despite Ivacy’s award in 2019 for its speeds, we’ve heard reports that users typically experience an industry-average of anywhere from 70 to 110 Mbps. It’s up to you to decide whether that’s good enough for your purposes. If you’re just browsing or doing work, it’s probably fine. Trying to game? You might need a connection that’s more reliably fast.
The more than 3,500 servers that Ivacy claims place it firmly in the top half of VPNs worldwide. While the “big boys” sometimes have in the 6,000+ server range, there are many VPNs out there that don’t even have 2,000.
Also, we’re a bit confused about the claims on Ivacy’s website. While it claims to have more than 3,500 servers, the numbers broken down by region don’t add up to that amount. However, regardless of how you slice it, there are plenty of servers to choose from in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Asia.
|Generous connection limits||you can have up to 10 connections at a time associated with the same account|
|Additional paid features||offers a dedicated IP service as well as port forwarding|
|No logs||Ivacy has a strict no-log policy and claims not to keep logs of users’ sessions|
|Apps||iOS, Android, Windows, Linux, MacOS, gaming consoles, and more|
|Security measures||uses the same 256-bit encryption that militaries use, as well as IKEV and IPSec protocols|
|Large server network||more than 3,500 servers in over 100 locations across the globe|
|Kill switch||offers an internet kill switch that kicks in if you lose server connection|
|Subscription packages||monthly, yearly, and five-year plans|
|Money-back guarantee||available for up to 30 days|
|Verified||part of the VPN Trust Initiative|
|Good customer service||available for up to 30 days|
At more than 3500 servers, Ivacy is up there with the largest VPNs.
The user interface is relatively straightforward and easy to use. However, there are some issues specifically with the Windows client. Usability is hampered by prompts to rate Ivacy on various VPN review websites as well as to open your browser in Startpage.com. These are annoying and affect usability by adding extra hurdles to jump through before you can access the VPN’s services, but they aren’t super bad issues (especially if you’re only paying a dollar per month).
The client does allow for easy, automatic connection, but it sometimes has issues. For example, reportedly the L2TP protocol switches over to IKEv2, which can affect users who really need to use L2TP. Also, the killswitch can automatically reconnect using a different protocol. While that’s not a huge deal and can even be on purpose to circumvent potential protocol-based problems in the connection that triggered the kill switch, it isn’t user-friendly.
Features and versatility are some of Ivacy’s key strong points, and it has tons of accessibility for mobile apps. In addition to operating on Linux, MacOS, iOS, Android, and other operating systems, it can be set up on smartphones, Smart TVs, routers, gaming consoles, and more. It also provides simple how-to instructions about connecting through those devices.
The interface on mobile apps also retains most, if not all, of the features available on desktop or laptop. The Android version of Ivacy retains pretty much all the features available on desktop, while its iOS app has everything except the kill switch. One small issue, regardless of the device from which you connect, is that the user display doesn’t show ping rate or speed, choosing instead only to display the location of the server. This can make selecting the right one pretty difficult, although it does allow you to create a list of your favorite servers, so you can keep the ones you like after you find them.
- English (US)
- English (UK)
- English (AU)
Ivacy claims to follow a strict no-logs policy. This means, unlike your ISP, the company pledges not to keep any records of your internet activity or browsing history. Theoretically, this should mean that you leave no trackable trace when you use the VPN. However, the company has not been audited by external agencies to check whether this is true, so it could all just be words on a page. It also limits devices, which means that it probably at least keeps technical logs so that the company knows which devices use the VPN and which don’t.
In 2010, Ivacy was one of the first VPNs to use the concept of split tunneling. The service, which is now standard among most VPNs, allows users to select which apps and services to run through the VPN’s “tunnel” or network and which to keep on their usual server. We like that Ivacy was so quick to adopt this technique when it came out, but it appears that it’s no longer on the truly cutting edge, as it doesn’t have some of the newest VPN features, such as RAM-only storage.
Ivacy uses AES 256-bit encryption. If you’re unfamiliar with encryption or bit length, this is a military-grade level of encryption. All your data, when you’re using Ivacy, is encrypted using a 256-bit key that would take even the world’s fastest supercomputer literally millions of years to crack using brute-force techniques. It’s virtually impossible to break this kind of encryption, so you can rest assured that your data is safe.
On the other hand, like we said, Ivacy has yet to undergo an external audit. So it remains to be seen whether or not its claims are true regarding security and privacy policies
Ivacy adds Microsoft Edge to the usual Chrome and Firefox browser extensions that most VPNs offer. Security issues shouldn’t change between browsers, although the Windows client apparently reverts requests to use the L2TP protocol to the IKEv2 protocol. Still, we’re pretty confident in the security measures that Ivacy provides while browsing the internet.
A kill switch is designed to detect when you lose connection to a VPN server for any reason and, immediately, to cut you off from the internet. Why would you want that, you ask. Well, imagine a scenario where you are using a VPN server to keep your information private. You lose connection, unbeknownst to you, and your computer reverts back to your usual server. You think you’re safe and secure, and that your information is private, but in actuality, you are exposed.
Ivacy provides users with an effective kill switch that has ironed out some of the issues it reportedly used to have. However, one problem with the Windows client is that, if the user is booted from the server and the kill switch is engaged, the client automatically tries to reconnect using a different protocol. That can be confusing to some users and may present some security risk in specific circumstances.
VPNs on the cutting edge of the industry have begun to switch to RAM-only storage. This means your data doesn’t end up on a disk but is stored temporarily as Random Access Memory. Each time the server reboots, that RAM is gone forever, so your data doesn’t have a chance to be logged.
Unfortunately, Ivacy has yet to make the leap to RAM-only like some of its competitors. Still, it claims to adhere to a strict no-logs policy and hasn’t had any scandals regarding that policy, so this may not be a huge downside to most users. We still think it’s a solid VPN for torrenting and privacy purposes
When gaming on Xbox, Playstation, or even your desktop or laptop computer, security is a major concern. Ivacy provides malware protection as well as all the additional 256-bit encryption and various protocols designed to keep your data safe from prying eyes. Regardless of where you game or how you game, using Ivacy should provide a high level of anonymity and data security.
The only issues we have seen with Ivacy appear to happen on its Windows client. Security-wise, the VPN’s kill switch usually reconnects using a different protocol than the one selected by the user, which is misleading. There is a strange problem with it automatically switching L2TP with IKEv2 protocols as well.
However, again, its security measures are substantial and the malware protection, optional port forwarding, and IPv6 leak protection add to our confidence that your data is safe with Ivacy.
Browsing the internet can open you up to various security threats, including DDoS attacks, malware, or even just corporations tracking your every move so that they can flood you with ads. Ivacy is compatible with many operating systems, all major platforms, and has extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. Its public WiFi protection includes blacklisting potential malware sites, and it helps protect your information through IPv6 leak protection.
Add the standard (but still impressive) 256-bit encryption and you have a recipe for significant security and privacy.
We can’t stress enough that Ivacy shines in the realm of mobile and tablet apps. Its apps retain all of the essential protocol options and encryption, plus leak protection and malware protection. However, one minor quibble is that its iOS version does not have a kill switch. This could leave you vulnerable to external threats because you think you’re on the VPN’s server when you have actually lost connection and are operating unprotected.
The router issue was a bit confusing. While Ivacy is compatible with DD-WRT routers, it is somewhat clunky to find information on how to install it. Plus, it’s not clear if that’s the only type of router that can run Ivacy. Other VPNs, for example, can be used on a variety of brand name routers. We would have liked to see more, but the instructions (once we found them) are fairly comprehensive.
Ivacy is headquartered in Singapore, outside the infamous 14 Eyes surveillance alliance. In plain English, this means that its local laws favor users’ privacy and do not require VPNs to hand over information such as usage logs or other data that could compromise users’ security. By being based in Singapore, Ivacy can assure users of a certain level of privacy that VPNs based in the United States or even some areas of Europe are unable to guarantee.
If you wish to run Ivacy through a router, it appears you’ll need a DD-WRT router that can use OpenVPN. There are clear, comprehensive installation instructions online that you can use to set up your router, as well as round-the-clock customer service if you need support. However, we were unsure whether we could install it on other types of routers or not.
VPNs sometimes undergo external audits in order to prove to users that they abide by their privacy and security policies. This has become a growing trend in VPNs, but even some of the best out there have not yet submitted themselves to an audit. Ivacy is not among the ones who have been audited, meaning that users largely have to take the VPN at its word that it doesn’t keep long-term usage logs and that its security really is as robust as it says.
Developed by Ivacy competitor ExpressVPN, the Lightway protocol is a new protocol that is designed to replace others like OpenVPN. It is reportedly more secure, though some have said it tends to slow down the VPN’s performance. Regardless, Ivacy does not use the Lightway protocol, as ExpressVPN is currently the only one that uses it.
Streaming and Torrenting
Many people get VPNs specifically so that they can use streaming services. Why? Mostly, it’s because VPNs hide your true location, so you can get around geo-blocked apps or services. If you live in the US, for example, you could connect through a VPN to a server in the UK and gain access to shows on Netflix that are restricted to the UK. Ivacy is known for being able to unblock the most popular outlets, including Netflix, iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and Youtube.
Another common use for VPNs is torrenting, also known as P2P (peer-to-peer) file sharing. Ivacy’s servers are extremely P2P friendly, since the company is headquartered in privacy-heavy Singapore and has a strict no-logs policy. Theoretically, it should be next to impossible to track who is transferring which files to whom
Torrenting is also a common reason for getting a VPN. While it is often of dubious legality, depending on where you live, torrenting is a way for a network of users to share and download files between them. Most of UltraVPN’s servers are conducive to torrenting.
Gaming and Consoles
Online gaming has become a megasport in many circles. Even if you aren’t super serious about gaming, it’s still important to keep your information safe, such as your location, IP address, and other personal data. Also, you want to make sure that you remain safe and that your device is protected from DDoS, hacking, and other kinds of online attacks.
Ivacy’s system works well for gaming, and it also provides easy-to-understand setup instructions for popular gaming consoles Xbox and Playstation. It offers malware protection as well, so you should be safe from sketchy files sent by disgruntled opponents.
Desktop and Laptops
The main issues that Ivacy has occur in its desktop and laptop Windows client. However, the VPN is also available for operating systems like Linux and MacOS. New users will like Ivacy’s automatic connection button, which sends you to the best available server as determined by the VPN’s algorithm. However, the fact that the client doesn’t readily display key information like ping or traffic on its interface could turn away veteran users who want more control over which servers they connect for which purposes.
In addition to useful browser extensions, the desktop and laptop versions also allow for split tunneling, which lets you choose which apps make use of the VPN and which use your normal server. Also of note is its multi-port option, which can allow you to get around sites and apps that try to block the usage of VPNs.
Ivacy has extensions the usual suspects among VPNs (Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox). We also liked that it has an extension for the less-often-seen Microsoft Edge. It’s clear from various reports that using these extensions is often optimal. Many of the issues (usually minor) that users report happen only on the Windows client and not on the browser extensions.
By using Ivacy, you can keep your browsing private and secure. There are also options to switch protocols as you need, including OpenVPN, IKEv2, IPSec, and some others.
Mobile and Tablets
Most of us don’t sit around at computers all day. Instead of laptops and desktops, we access the internet via our smartphones, tablets, and other devices. Unfortunately, many VPNs offer clients and apps that lose significant functionality when transferring from the desktop world to mobile. Ivacy ducks this trend.
As we said before, Ivacy’s Android version retains the functionality and features of its desktop client, and iOS is not far behind (lacking only the kill switch). At the end of the day, that means you can keep your internet browsing and usage private and secure on up to 10 devices while you’re out and about. Connect everyone’s smartphone in your family and you’ll probably still have ample space for the desktop, laptop, and even gaming consoles
Routers are an effective way of connecting several devices to Ivacy’s network at once. Ivacy is compatible with DD-WRT routers that can use OpenVPN protocols, and the company has in-depth installation instructions on its website to help users set up their routers. However, we had some difficulty finding these instructions, since there was no dedicated Router tab on Ivacy’s website, and it’s not entirely clear whether routers that aren’t DD-WRT are also compatible.
How to install
Ivacy’s online resources include comprehensive installation and setup instructions. However, the general method is quite easy. You download the installer, click install, and follow the prompts. When you boot up the VPN, you should have an option to connect to the best available server. However, one issue users run into is that the interface does not show speeds, ping, or other relevant factors that would make the decision of which server to connect to much easier.
Regardless, the detailed installation guides online and responsive customer support system both contribute to an overall stress-free installation process.
Ivacy excels at customer service, with responsive team members, an online live chat, 24/7 support, and extensive online guides. One issue that some users may find is that, despite its claim to not log usage, there must be some logging going on for the company to be able to troubleshoot the issues users are running into and limit the number of log-ins and devices.
If you are having trouble with the VPN, chances are good that you aren’t experienced with these services anyway. Resources that use industry terms and jargon can simply add to your confusion. Still, it’s not that big of a deal when you consider that live chat and around-the-clock customer support is available.
Ivacy has been around since 2006 and is one of the OGs of innovative VPN services. It was one of the first VPNs to start offering the split tunneling feature and still has some avant-garde elements like port forwarding, which helps users get around VPN blockers. However, we sense that some of the cutting-edge mentality has been lost at Ivacy. It doesn’t use RAM-only storage and has not yet taken the step of getting an external audit, so lots of its claims have not been verified.
On the plus side, Ivacy has made innovations in affordability. Its plans are some of the best value we’ve seen, with long-term five-year plans that cost only a single dollar per month. We were also impressed with its customer support system, its P2P friendliness, its robust mobile apps, and its wide array of features. What the product may lack on the cutting edge, it makes up for by providing users with a huge range of services at an astonishing value.
Q: Does Ivacy work with Netflix?
A: Ivacy can be used to unblock geo-restricted Netflix services, yes. However, you may need to try several of its servers before having success. Other streaming services that it unblocks include iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and more.
Q: Is Ivacy free?
A: Ivacy is a paid service, but its prices are super low. On a month-to-month plan, you’ll pay on the lower end of the industry norms at roughly $10. However, the true deal is to get the five-year subscription, which works out to $1 per month.
Q: Is Ivacy good for torrenting?
A: Yes. Though it has not been audited by external groups, it claims not to log users’ online activity. It’s also located in Singapore, which has privacy-friendly laws that do not require the company to overturn user data. These help to make it friendly to torrents, even though it hasn’t yet upgraded its servers to RAM-only.
Q: Is Ivacy legal?
A: Using a VPN like Ivacy is legal in most countries, yes. Ivacy itself operates perfectly legally within the laws of Singapore, where it is headquartered. That said, different countries have different laws regarding internet usage, and how you use the VPN can be illegal in your area. To be totally sure, you’ll need to look up the laws in your location