A VPN routes your internet data through an encrypted connection, which hides your activeness from your Internet access provider and makes information technology harder for spies and advertisers to runway you online. IVPN is an affordable VPN with billing cycles equally brusque as one week and equally long as 3 years. Its app is simple (if a bit thin), just information technology packs the about versatile multihop connectedness feature nosotros’ve tested and uses the latest WireGuard applied science. Most impressive is IVPN’s delivery to transparency and privacy, which more than than outweighs the drawback of its comparably small server network. For all that and its affordable pricing, it’s an Editors’ Option winner.
How Much Does IVPN Cost?
Not long ago, IVPN had the highest monthly fee of whatsoever service we had reviewed. The company has thankfully overhauled its pricing structure, and the upshot is more wallet-friendly. Its subscription system does reserve some features for more expensive tiers, but fifty-fifty those plans are affordable. IVPN is also one of the few VPNs to offering weekly subscriptions, which add together flexibility and are useful for travelers.
IVPN offers two tiers: IVPN Standard and IVPN Pro. The Standard plan costs $2 per week, $6 per calendar month, $sixty per twelvemonth, $100 every ii years, and $140 every three years. Standard also allows simply 2 devices to be connected simultaneously. The Pro programme raises the device cap to seven, unlocks port forwarding, and grants admission to multihop connections (more on this subsequently). A Pro plan goes for $four per calendar week, $10 per month, $100 every yr, $160 every two years, or $220 every iii years.
The industry average for simultaneous VPN connections is five, so we used the Pro program in our testing. While it’south the company’s priciest tier, information technology yet compares favorably with the competition. The average monthly price of a VPN we’ve reviewed is $9.96, and the average annual cost is $71.31. In that light, the IVPN Pro plan is just under boilerplate for monthly costs only doesn’t disbelieve its longer-term plans equally heavily as others do.
There are good, cheaper options. Editors’ Choice winner Mullvad VPN is similar in its privacy opinion and features, merely information technology costs merely €v per month, or virtually $6, with no annual discount (and then, it’s €60 per year, or about $71.fifty). The least expensive annual plan for a VPN we’ve even so reviewed goes to Kaspersky Secure Connectedness, which costs just $29.99 per year.
Some VPNs, however, are abandoning limitations on simultaneous connections birthday. Atlas VPN, Avira Phantom VPN, IPVanish VPN, Surfshark VPN, and Windscribe VPN have no limit on simultaneous connections.
(Editors’ Note: IPVanish are owned past Ziff Davis, PCMag’due south parent company.)
Cipher is cheaper than free, and some free VPNs are also worth your consideration. Hotspot Shield VPN and Editors’ Selection winner TunnelBear VPN limit the bandwidth of their free subscriptions to 500MB per day and 500MB per calendar month, respectively. Editors’ Choice winner ProtonVPN is the just VPN nosotros’ve notwithstanding reviewed that places no restrictions on data at the free level. IVPN does not have a no-price subscription.
You can purchase an IVPN subscription with most major credit cards (American Express is notably excluded); PayPal; or, anonymously, via Bitcoin. Like Editors’ Choice winner Mullvad VPN, IVPN also accepts cash payments. You have to mail them to its Berlin offices. The procedure tin can take several days to process, and your money runs the risk of being lost, but this is perhaps your most anonymous option. Annotation that some services, like TorGuard, allow you use souvenir cards from other companies such as Starbucks for a more user-friendly but withal anonymous transaction.
Beyond basic VPN protection, IVPN includes multihop connections. This technology bounces your web traffic between two VPN servers instead of just one. It ensures that even if one of the VPN servers has been compromised, your privacy remains secure. This is a fairly rare feature, only IVPN’due south implementation is truly unique. With IVPN, you can select any two servers for your multihop path. Every other service we’ve tested requires y’all to stick to the company’s pre-made paths.
IVPN does provide split-tunneling but only its Android app. This feature lets you define which traffic is encrypted and which travels in the clear. While you don’t demand a VPN to connect to the Tor anonymization network, push-button access to Tor through your VPN client is handy. IVPN does not offer this feature, but a few other VPNs do. ProtonVPN and NordVPN are the only VPNs we’ve reviewed that offer multihop, split tunneling, and access to Tor. Notation that IVPN likewise supports port forwarding at the Pro tier, only information technology does not offering static IP addresses for auction.
Every bit the VPN space has become increasingly crowded, some VPNs take opted to diversify with other privacy and security apps. TunnelBear and NordVPN, for example, both offering password managers for an additional fee. ProtonVPN can be bundled with the privacy-focused email service ProtonMail. IVPN does not offering any additional services.
Proceed in mind that despite everything they offer, VPNs cannot protect against every threat. We strongly recommend installing antivirus software, using a password manager, and enabling two-factor authentication wherever it’south supported. VPNs also cannot stop every method of tracking you online, so we recommend installing a tracker blocker, such as the EFF’s Privacy Annoy and enabling browser features that protect your privacy.
IVPN’s VPN Protocols
Virtual Private Networking is not a new technology, and there are several unlike ways to set up a connection. We’re pleased to meet that IVPN provides a useful primer on the difference between protocols. More companies should offer this sort of helpful guide to customers.
WireGuard is the new hotness for VPN protocols. This protocol is open source, meaning that information technology tin be picked over for potential vulnerabilities. It also uses the latest encryption technology and is remarkably fast. OpenVPN, another open up-source protocol, is yet our preferred protocol, just WireGuard is likely to get a new standard.
IVPN currently supports WireGuard and OpenVPN in its Android, iOS, Linux, macOS, and Windows apps. IVPN’s iOS app also supports the first-class IKEv2 protocol. Note that IVPN has open up-sourced the code of its apps, and it has made its Android app available on the F-Droid open-source app repository.
IVPN Servers and Server Locations
IVPN provides servers in 44 locations across 31 countries. That’southward well below the industry average of 51 countries. ExpressVPN has the most impressive roster of servers we’ve seen, offering them in 94 countries worldwide. A larger, more diverse collection of server locations gives customers more than choices for location spoofing and ways information technology’s easier to notice a nearby server wherever you are.
Like nearly VPNs, IVPN ignores the continent of Africa. It does, however, offer one server in Southward America. We’d like to run into IVPN work to aggrandize its global footprint. IVPN has servers in Hong Kong only not in some of the regions known for repressive internet policies such as Russia, Turkey, and Viet Nam.
Altogether, IVPN has simply 77 servers. That’s vanishingly small-scale compared to a juggernaut similar CyberGhost, which has over 6,300. Having more than servers isn’t necessarily ameliorate, simply it does give y’all more opportunities to find 1 that works for you.
Virtual servers are software-defined servers hosted on a physical server that can run many virtual servers. Virtual locations can be configured to appear somewhere other than where they are physically located. Neither is necessarily problematic, just we prefer VPNs that brand information technology clear where your information is headed. This is non an issue with IVPN. A company representative tells me that IVPN merely uses “bare metal” (that is, not virtual) servers, and all of them are located exactly where they claim to be.
IVPN leases all its servers, only the company assures me they are rebuilt from scratch on installation and access requires hardware token authentication. Other companies tout their physical security as potential benefits. NordVPN and ExpressVPN, for example, eschew writing data to difficult disks, eliminating opportunities for tampering.
Your Privacy With IVPN
The company says it does non log the content of your traffic, a connection timestamp, DNS requests, user bandwidth, or IP address. Cheers to its unusual Account ID organisation (more on this later), IVPN does non fifty-fifty need contact information—though providing it allows you to receive customer support. Anonymized crash logs are sent with user approving on desktop devices and can be opted out on mobile. That’s all excellent. In addition to confirming all this information, an IVPN representative stated farther that the company does not sell any customer information.
Max in item is on tape as being disheartened by the toxic miasma surrounding much of the VPN industry. That’s why we are happy to come across that IVPN has an ethics statement, which outlines what it does and does not practice when it comes to advertising. Non many VPN companies are willing to brand such assurances—only Mullvad VPN comes to listen. It’south not a legally binding document, just it is refreshing to come across a VPN company and then concerned about ethics.
IVPN is owned by Privatus Ltd and operates under the legal jurisdiction of Gibraltar. The visitor makes articulate that information technology only responds to legal requests for data from Gibraltar regime. Like NordVPN and ExpressVPN, IVPN says its offshore condition is a shield confronting invasive information requests. The company notes that it has very little information to share, even for valid requests.
IVPN reports its interactions with police force enforcement in its transparency report. This shows how many requests for information the visitor has received, how many it deemed legitimate, and how IVPN responded. These figures are heartening. Over the four years covered in the written report, IVPN appears to have provided no data to law enforcement. IVPN also publishes a cryptographically signed warrant canary. Not nearly plenty VPN companies publish documents like these.
Several VPN companies have released the results of third-party audits in lodge to establish their privacy bona fides. Audits are imperfect tools, but they are withal valuable for demonstrating good faith to customers. IVPN completed its 2nd third-party inspect past Cure53 in January, 2020. This audit included both the external and backend infrastructure of IVPN’due south service, which is what we want to see. The company has committed to releasing annual audits, a commitment we’ve seen from simply a few VPN companies, such as TunnelBear. IVPN’s next audit is due out later in March, 2021.
IVPN appears to be doing everything right when information technology comes to protecting user privacy, exceeding the efforts fabricated by the majority of VPN providers. Withal, security is a thing of trust. If for some reason you experience you cannot trust a company, y’all should look elsewhere.
Hands On With IVPN for Windows
We had no trouble installing IVPN on an Intel NUC Kit NUC8i7BEH (Edible bean Canyon) desktop running the latest version of Windows ten, although creating an account was a chip different than other companies. Like Mullvad, IVPN does not ask users to create a username or countersign. Instead, it issues you lot an account ID number, which activates your apps and takes the place of traditional login credentials. This is good for privacy and makes logging in a snap, but information technology’south also sure to confuse some customers.
The IVPN app is a simple, white window with a large connect button in the centre. Click it, and you’ll be connected to the VPN. Nosotros appreciate this straightforward pattern. Once you’re connected, the IVPN app reveals a Suspension push button that temporarily breaks your VPN connectedness. It’s useful for those times when a site is cleaved or some other state of affairs when you need to disconnect the VPN briefly.
The clean design hides a few goodies. The name of the Wi-Fi network yous’re currently using appears in the heart of the window. Click it, and y’all tin can add it to the list of approved networks, or to the list of networks that automatically trigger a VPN connection. The Information button at the bottom of the screen shows your connectedness data—IP address, connection elapsing, and then on—simply hides information technology when you don’t demand to see it.
As elementary as IVPN’s app is, nosotros wouldn’t call information technology friendly. TunnelBear’s fusion of bear-based whimsy and simplicity is a stand-out for approachability. IVPN too isn’t filled to the skirt with esoteric capabilities, like TorGuard and ProtonVPN are.
All the same, IVPN has some advanced settings. You can let for local traffic even when the VPN is active. This could allow your reckoner to talk with devices on your network, like a printer or a streaming device. There’s also a Hardcore mode in the advertizement-blocking settings, likewise every bit some rarely seen controls for VPN protocols.
Toggles at the top of the screen actuate advert-blocking and the Kill Switch feature—called Firewall, hither. The former does exactly what it sounds similar (although nosotros did non examination its efficacy), and the latter blocks all web traffic in the event your VPN is asunder. You can click Single-Hop or Multi-Hop at the bottom of the screen for either of those connections.
Clicking the location listed at the bottom of the window launches the server selector. The default option is Fastest Server, but you can customize this to exclude certain servers that you never want to connect with—a handy feature. The balance of the server locations are listed alphabetically past land, with a latency measurement nearby. Apps like NordVPN and ProtonVPN offering more command, letting you lot slice and dice the server lists to help yous notice the perfect fit. IVPN’southward server collection is small enough to where this isn’t a huge disadvantage, but even TunnelBear’s minor server offering features a map interface to help you find what you’re looking for.
A VPN should not leak your IP address or DNS information, which is why we test each service using the DNS Leak Test tool. This confirmed that our IP address was hidden and that our DNS information was secure. We only tested ane server—other servers may not exist configured correctly. Note that the DNS Leak Test tool we utilise for testing all VPNs is sponsored by IVPN.
In testing, nosotros were able to stream Netflix content while connected to a US-based IVPN server. That could modify, however, equally VPNs and Netflix are locked in an endless arms race. A VPN that works with Netflix today might non piece of work tomorrow, and vice versa.
Speed and Operation
Using a VPN usually means your upload and download speeds will drop, while your latency goes up. To get a sense of this impact, we run a series of Ookla speed tests with the VPN on and off. We then find the percent change betwixt those two sets.
(Editors’ Note: Ookla is owned by PCMag’s publisher, Ziff Davis.)
IVPN performed extremely well in our latest round of testing. It reduced download and upload speed test results by only 22.6% and 27.1%, respectively. Its latency results were less impressive, probable attributable to its comparatively smaller collection of servers. Our testing shows that it increased latency by 71.4%.
In previous years, nosotros tested all VPN products back-to-back to pick the fastest VPN. This year, nosotros’ve opted for a rolling model that volition evangelize fresher data faster. This modify was as well necessitated by the COVID-nineteen restrictions that limit our access to the PCMag Labs. The latest results are below.
Comport in mind that these are just a snapshot for comparing, and not a total evaluation of any VPN’s operation. In other words, your results will nearly certainly differ from ours. We also don’t believe that speed should be your chief concern when purchasing a VPN.
Hands On With IVPN for Mac
Installing the macOS VPN app for IVPN on a MacBook Air (2020) running Big Sur 11.ii.2 was a breeze. The app is not in the App Store, so we downloaded it from IVPN’south website. Unlike the iOS version, the macOS has a Nighttime Mode theme for those who want to salve their eyesight.
The app’s home screen features a column of toggles that allow yous to connect to a server and plough on the Firewall (Kill Switch) characteristic or the AntiTracker feature, which blocks ads, malicious websites, and third-party trackers. When you tap the toggle to connect to your VPN server of option, a Pause button appears beside the green toggle button, allowing you to stop and restart your connection speedily.
To ensure that the VPN was not leaking our DNS data, we tested it using DNSLeakTest.com, which we should note again is sponsored by IVPN. We performed an extended exam while continued to a server in Amsterdam, and the server did non leak our IP address or DNS information.
While connected to kingdom of the netherlands server, we loaded a YouTube video and it played instantly. Twitch.tv also loaded very chop-chop and the alive stream played perfectly at its source resolution. We didn’t feel whatsoever video or sound lag or buffering on either site while connected to the VPN server.
Hands On With IVPN for iPhone
Installing IVPN on an iPhone XS running iOS 14.four.one was as like shooting fish in a barrel every bit choosing the app from the App Store, downloading it, and entering our business relationship ID number. The IVPN iPhone VPN app has a very make clean white interface, featuring a world map showing the locations of all of IVPN’southward VPN servers. Unlike the Windows version, at that place is not a Pause button on the iOS app, simply the selection to Connect or Disconnect.
Yous tin sort servers by city, country, latency and proximity to aid yous find the server that will work best for you. It’south a very user-friendly way of presenting servers that makes information technology clear which servers will be fastest for y’all, or closest to you. That said, you lot tin can merely choose the city the server is in, not the individual server itself.
The iOS app doesn’t have a lot of features, simply AntiTracker, which allows yous to configure advert, malware and tracker blocking, and Multi-Hop, which allows you to route your connection through multiple servers. Dissimilar the Windows version, IVPN does not offer a Impale Switch or firewall on the iPhone.
You probably use a VPN considering you lot value privacy, and so that’south why we test every app using DNSLeakTest.com. Nosotros tested a server in Montreal, Canada and confirmed our IP address remained subconscious and our DNS information was not divulged.
To further test the IVPN app, we navigated to YouTube.com while connected to the Montreal-based server and tried to load several videos. The app loaded each video speedily and played it without any problems. We then went to Twitch.goggle box and waited just a few seconds for a stream to load and it played with well-baked video quality.
Hands On With IVPN for Android
We tested the IVPN Android VPN app on a Samsung A71 running Android 10. Dissimilar the Windows and iOS IVPN apps, you lot tin can get into Settings and switch to a Dark theme. When yous tap the Connect toggle, a Pause push button appears, much like the Windows version, so yous tin can suspension your connectedness any time a site doesn’t load or you want to stream video content.
The Android app has more features than the iOS version, including split tunneling, and a Kill Switch. The Anti-Tracker and Multi-Hop features seen in the iOS version are missing from the Android version of the IVPN app.
Y’all want to continue your information individual and secure, and so that’due south nosotros perform a DNS Leak Examination for every app version of each service. This time we tested a server in Madrid, Kingdom of spain and my IP address and DNS information was not leaked past the server.
All of the YouTube videos we viewed in testing loaded rapidly while connected to the Madrid-based server. While a Twit.tv stream took a few seconds to load, the video quality was fantabulous, and nosotros didn’t experience whatever lag or buffering while watching.
Easily On With IVPN for Chrome OS
We downloaded the IVPN Android app onto a Dell Chrome 3100 with an Intel Celeron Processor. Logging into IVPN is a snap, thank you to a passwordless system that simply requires a randomly generated account ID number. The Android app on Chrome Os has an intuitive interface featuring a map that shows the location of the VPN server of your choice, buttons to establish either a multi-hop or unmarried-hop connection, and a toggle to connect to the server.
IVPN for Chrome OS has plenty of extras for subscribers. In the settings menu, you can use features such as split up tunneling, a local network bypass toggle, always-on VPN, a Kill Switch, and something called Mock Location, which matches your device’south GPS location to the VPN location.
A New Winner Holds Its Own
IVPN’s unique approach to multihop VPN connections, embrace of the new WireGuard technology, and privacy-start account organization make information technology stand out in a crowded field. While it lacks a costless subscription or a heavily discounted long-term subscription, IVPN already has simply about all the features you could want for less than the average price. IVPN’s server footprint and global coverage are non impressive, just the service nonetheless racked upward remarkably good speed test scores even with this small network.
All of that on its own would be plenty to earn our endorsement, simply the visitor goes beyond technical merits. It embraces transparency, releasing the results of a 3rd-party audit and presenting as much information as possible about how client data is handled and how the company works to protect its users’ privacy. Information technology’due south i of the strongest VPNs we’ve reviewed, and it’s an Editors’ Choice winner.