IVPN Review

IVPN was founded in 2009 by a group of IT professionals that met while working on their Msc in Information Security at the University of London.  The company is located in Malta.  Their physical address is listed on the IVPN site which is nice as most providers don’t list it.

IVPN review

Pricing and Special Offers

IVPN offers a single plan that includes unlimited access to their network. The price of unlimited VPN differs based on whether or not you sign up for recurring billing along with the term of your account.  Prices range from $8 to $20 a month.

IVPN pricing plans

Like a lot of VPN providers IVPN offers term discounts. The longer the term the more you save. You can sign up for billing on a monthly, quarterly, six month or annual basis. Their annual plan is the best value at a discount of 44% off.  You can visit the IVPN special page to save up to 44% off unlimited VPN access.

IVPN accepts PayPal and Bitcoin payments.  I like using PayPal since it’s easy to manage subscription services.  Bitcoin is a good payment source for those looking for an extra layer of privacy when singing up.  You will still need to provide a valid email address to receive the login details.

Risk Free Trial Period

Regardless of which VPN provider you choose you’ll want to test their service. Most companies will give you that opportunity and IVPN has you covered. They understand you need to make sure everything works. To help they offer a 7 day money back guarantee. If you’re unhappy for any reason simply cancel within the first two days for a full refund.

Here’s the IVPN refund policy from their site:

IVPN strives to meet the expectations of all new users and offers unlimited support to help users with any problems they may face in configuring the service. If however you are unsatisfied with the service for any reason whatsoever you can request a full refund within 7 days of your service being activated (we would appreciate it if you could let us know why, but you don’t have to!).

We have considered extending this offer to 30 days however in our experience this opens the door for abuse by people who simply want to leech off the network and consume as much of the network resources as possible without paying for them. This obviously affects the service we can provide to our loyal paying customers and hence we have made the decision to limit the refund policy to 7 days.

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IVPN Network and Server Locations

The IVPN network isn’t as large as some of our top VPN providers but they manage a series of VPN servers in key locations around the world.  All members have full access to their network.

CountriesLocationsServersIP'sProtocols
91214unknownOpenVPN, L2TP

IVPN has servers in the United States, Canada, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Switzerland, Romania and Hong Kong

Privacy and Security

If you’re primary goal is online privacy and anonymity then you’ll want to take a close look at the provider’s privacy and logging policies before joining.  IVPN states on their homepage that they don’t store any logged data that could compromise your anonymity online.

IVPN logs the following information to prevent email spam:

We do not store any connection logs whatsoever. In order to prevent email spammers our firewalls log connections made to mail server ports where the number of connections exceed a predefined threshold (e.g. 20 connections per 60 seconds) so we can then disconnect the connection. We purposely and strictly do not log any other data to mitigate our legal liability.

When it comes to security IVPN has you covered.  They support both OpenVPN and L2TP protocols.  You can use their Windows client to connect with OpenVPN.  They offer set up guides for both protocols on a wide range of devices.  They support a range of excryption levels along with multihop connections for better privacy.

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Hands-On Testing

If you’ve read other reviews then you know I prefer VPN providers with easy to use client software.  IVPN has developed excellent software for Windows users.  They offer simple to follow set up guides for Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android and DD-WRT routers.

Connecting with the Windows VPN Client

Let’s take a closer look at the IVPN Windows client.

IVPN Windows client

The IVPN Windows client has a number of advanced features.  For starters you can set the level of encryption up to 4096 bit RSA.  IVPN offers multihop technology for servers in the US, UK and the Netherlands.  Meaning you can connect to one server and have the traffic sent through another country.  Adding an extra layer of privacy protection.

The IVPN software includes DNS leak protection.  Their service also allows members to enable port forwarding on inbound connections.

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Connect with a Mac

IVPN doesn’t offer a custom client for Mac users.  Not to worry though as they support OpenVPN on Tunnelblick along with manual L2TP configuration.  They have set up guides for both options.

Connect from iPhone or iPad

While IVPN doesn’t offer their own iOS app, they have a guide for using the OpenVPN Connect app which is free.  They also have a set up guide for manually connecting with L2TP.  Here’s a copy of the instructions.  You can visit their site for a full version with screenshots.

IVPN L2TP set up guide for iOS:

1) Start on the home screen. Tap the Settings icon. Tap the General icon on the left and then navigate to the VPN button on the right.
2) Tap Add VPN configuration.
3) Tap the L2TP button.

    • Enter a name for the connection in the description field e.g. IVPN – Switzerland.
    • Enter the address of one of the L2TP servers from the server status list (depending on which country you want to connect to).
    • Enter your VPN username in the Account field (starts with ‘ivpn’).
    • Enter your VPN password.
    • Enter the IPSec shared secret key found on the IPSec shared key page. You may need to login if you are not already.
    • Switch Send all traffic to ON.
    • Tap the Save icon.

4) Connect to the VPN by sliding the VPN button to ON.
5) The connection has been established and can be confirmed by the VPN icon in the title bar.

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Connect from an Android Device

Again IVPN doesn’t offer an app for Android devices but they support the free OpenVPN for Android app.  They also have a set up guide for L2TP/IPSEC connections. Here’s a copy of the instructions. You can visit their site for a full version with screenshots.

IVPN L2TP set up guide for Android:

1) Access the main Settings screen on your Android device. Tap on the more button under wireless & networks. Depending on the exact version of Android you are using this step may be slightly different, the goal is to access the VPN configuration screen in step 2.
2) Tap on VPN
3) Tap on the + symbol to add a new VPN connection.
4) Enter a name for the connection (only be used to identify the connection) e.g. IVPN – Netherlands.

    • Under type select L2TP/IPSec PSK VPN
    • Enter the address of one of the L2TP servers from the server status list (depending on which country you want to connect to).
    • Enter the IPSec shared secret key found on the IPSec shared key page. You may need to login if you are not already.
    • Tap save to save the VPN connection details.

5) Tap on the new connection to connect. Enter your IVPN username and password (the username starts with ‘ivpn’) and tap Connect.
6) Once connected you will see the following screen.

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IVPN Speed Test

I tested IVPN using OpenVPN which is the most secure protocol. I used their Windows client and connected to a server in New Jersey.IVPN speed test

As you can see there was about a 30% difference in speed between the connection directly to my ISP and the connection to the server in New Jersey. Encryption adds overhead so you can expect some decrease in performance. It’s a trade off for a higher level of privacy. With a speed of nearly 24 Mbps I could easily stream services like Netflix and BBC.

Conclusion

I like IVPN’s focus on privacy and anonymity.  Their multihop technology is an additional layer of privacy.  They don’t have the largest network but it covers the major regions.  Performance is good for those who want to unblock and stream from sites like Netflix and HBO GO.

What I liked most about the service:

  • Easy to use Windows client
  • Support for OpenVPN and L2TP protocols
  • Multihop technology and port forwarding
  • 256 bit AES + 4096 bit RSA encryption
  • Term discounts on annual sign ups

Ideas to improve the service:

  • Offer mobile apps for iOS and Android
  • Add more locations to their network
  • Consider dedicated IP as an add-on

I like IVPN and think it’s well suited for those focused on privacy.  If your goal is accessing content around the world then make sure they have servers in those countries.  If your goal is strong privacy then I suggest you give IVPN a try.  You’ll be covered by their 7 day money back guarantee which is plenty of time to test the service.

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