IPVanish Review 2016 – Updated

IPVanish Review 2016

Updated 4 January 2016

Since writing my initial IPVanish Review, the IPVanish service, in particular its applications have undergone a fairly significant overhaul.  Its also had a significant increase in the number of Servers too.  This is important as IPVanish is a tier one provider (read, other VPN companies use their infrastructure!).

I touch on some of the main improvements throughout this review, but to give you a good snapshot of the major changes:

  • There are now 40,000 IPs on 400+ servers in over 60 countries
  • The application interfaces have been significantly cleaned up and improved
  • The Kill switch is there
  • Change IP periodically – User selectable option that allows one’s IP address to randomly change based on selected interval – EXTRA LAYER OF PRIVACY PROTECTION
  • Favorites – Select favorite IP locations and create a personalized, sortable list – NOT SEEN THIS FEATURE ANYWHERE ELSE (28/4/15)
  • Pick location by map – Select an area on the map to connect to
  • Optimized city level selection, allowing for multi-city selection
  • Third party DNS – Added ability to choose between IPVanish DNS or a third party DNS provider of choice
  • Quick Connect – Simply click “connect” at anytime
  • New improved support form
  • Improved crash reporting
  • Status bar only mode frees up dock space
  • there is a Zero logs policy “IPVanish does not collect or log any traffic or use of its Virtual Private Network service.”

IPVanish Review 2016

IPVanish are one of the “big guys” and have been around for a number of years now. They are known as a Tier 1 operator which just means they aren’t resellers, they own their infrastructure. Which is good to know as it means they are in charge of their own destiny!

They have also won a plethora of awards. I’m sure they won’t mind that I used this picture from their website, and in 2015 was voted one of the Best VPNs in the Tech Times and VPN Providers

IP Vanish Awards
IP Vanish Awards

What did I test?

I tested the Mac, OS X, iOS and The android application.

It should be said that IPVanish cater to all platforms and have apps for iOS, PC, Linux and they also offer DDwrt and Tomato router support. So all in all a full range of support for basically all the platforms. In my original review, I could not test the iOS application due to being unable to upgrade my iOS software (app stuff!).

As of January 2016, the software is much improved across all platforms.  I only have one complaint and that is that DDWRT is still requiring manual settings rather than using an applet.  The applet would make this a stone wall 5 out of 5 and the only reason I don’t rate it a full 5!

But, that said if DDWRT is a low priority for you, then absolutely IPVanish is a fantastic choice!!

Ease of Use

The application on Mac was extremely easy to use. anyway, but the new interface is very neat indeed.  It is very much plug and play once you pass the very brief setup screens. The options are both obvious and minimal and the app is designed for your Mac or PC to simply be “behind a VPN or Not behind a VPN” there are no other filters that you find with more complicated applications.

It is as simple as it gets.  This probably explains why the app was faster than some other apps I have used.

Even the time to get the connection established was noticeably faster than my provider at the time by a few seconds at least.

 

IPV1   I

As you can see from the images above, the interface is strikingly simple.

All this is then followed by the list of servers and a protocol type.

I always use Open VPN I like the open source nature of it, and I have always used it. I always believed Open VPN to be more secure than some other protocols and so that is my choice, and since the Prism revelations, and more recently the relentless tales of data leaks in the press, it has been confirmed that OpenVPN is currently safe from the government unless they have put a back door in!

For a simple case of unlocking geo locked sites though it doesn’t really matter. Its my protocol of choice when it comes to privacy.

Simply case of highlight a server, click connect. End of instructions.

Speed Test Results

I tried a number of servers and did some speed tests. The test results are below and from speedtest.net. Remember I am in the UK so you would expect the speed to drop the further away the server is, you can see the pings are reasonable, you wouldn’t want to play an FPS game with some of them but look at the Manchester one. Thats not bad at all

IPVanish Atlanta Server
IPVanish Atlanta Server
IPVanish Chicago Server
IPVanish Chicago Server
IPVanish Manchester Server
IPVanish Manchester Server
IPVanish Newyork Server
IPVanish Newyork Server
IPVanish Toronto Server
IPVanish Toronto Server
IPVanish Paris Server
IPVanish Paris Server
IPVanish Oslo Server
IPVanish Oslo Server
IPVanish Cairo Server
IPVanish Cairo Server

Some of the speeds seemed a bit slower than I had expected so I thought I should test some actual streaming rather than rely on a snapshot in time of server speed. Read on.

Streaming Results

NRK. A Norwegian station.  Below are two screen shots, one from an in window stream and one full screen. It was taken on a Mac 21.5″ model.

NRK Full Screen
NRK Full Screen
NRK Small Screen
NRK Small Screen

I think you will agree that the quality is very good especially on such a high quality screen.

Update September 2016. IPVanish does NOT work with Netflix.

Next I switched to the US server, I think I used Atlanta to test the Netflix service.  I achieved speeds of around 3.5mbps in the test. I was a little concerned as my benchmark is 5mbps before I am happy enough to start streaming a film etc without fear of buffering.

However, as you can see below it was absolutely fine for streaming in HD.  Again, it should be remembered that a speed test is just a snapshot in time and it could be that during the streaming it goes up and down particularly around low and high action scenes allowing buffering to take place.

My only gripe really is that I personally like to see the speed so I can monitor it. Which I could not. (I appreciate that is just me being fussy). UPDATE Jan 2016

There is now a dashboard that lets you see the speed.

IPVanish Review 2016

Netflix Small
Netflix Full Screen
Netflix Large
Netflix in Window

The results really speak for themselves and the streaming was perfect from Netflix USA in my front room in the UK. And that is really what its all about.

Whilst on the Egytian server based in Cairo, i thought I would check out BeIN Sports and

BeIN Sport in Window
BeIN Sport in Window
Bein Sport Full Screen
Bein Sport Full Screen

Again, a fairly respectable speed of 4mbps and as you can see above the streaming was perfectly clear both in the windows and full screen views. I watched for probably ten minutes with no pixellation or buffering. Result.

Update 28 April 2015 – Accessing Star Sports.

In my initial assessment, the results for Starsports, which is based in India were erratic, so much so that I left them out of the review.  Since then, there has been far more interest in Star Sports due to its extensive yet incredibly cheap packages for both Cricket and the English Premier league football. In fact, from August 2015 the Premier League is completely FREE on starsports.

India servers have been notoriously difficult to get a high streaming standard for.

Tonight I retested IPVanish’s New Delhi server and was absolutely blown away by the improvement from last time.

I used both my iPhone and Mac to watch the Liverpool Hull game live, as well as some random highlight videos.  I also tested a cricket replay.  I recorded some of the action from my laptop and you can see it in the videos below.

Watching IPL Cricket with Star Sports outside India

Watching EPL Football on Star Sports outside India

Use Hotstar Premium instead now for the Premier League

Here are some screenshots from my phone too

2015-04-28 21.18.342015-04-28 21.18.32

2015-04-28 21.13.45

2015-04-28 21.13.27

The IPVanish Android app

I run the latest Android on the original phablet, my humble Galaxy Note.  Installed the software right off the play store and installed just like every other android application.  Once booted up you simply log in, choose a server and thats it! A few screens below for you.

2014-02-03 13.02.43 2014-02-03 13.00.25

I used BeIN Sports again for the purposes of this exercise and as you can see below, a very very crisp picture!

2014-02-03 14.12.072014-02-03 14.21.502014-02-03 14.21.282014-02-03 14.19.562014-02-03 14.13.51 2014-02-03 14.22.39

On my IPhone 5S and iPad, I have streamed YouTube and Netflix (whilst connected to both UK, Indian and USA servers) and the performance was that of a native connection.

All things considered then, both the Mac, OS X, iOS and Android apps did sterlingly in their respective tests. As of April 2015, the iOS and Mac (OS X) applications are significantly improved.

That covers the testing I did but I would like to make a few notes here on the DD-wrt function.

IPVanish does support DD-wrt routers.  They have full instructions on their site in the support section.  Like most providers, they do not  currently offer an applet for the routers which is a shame, but they do hand hold you through the configuration which is straightforward. I would love to see an applet as it makes the router such a powerful and convenience device when properly implemented.

So to finish lets look at a few bits of IPVanish facts and my opinion, Pros and Cons. Ultimately, i say get a free trial and see for yourself!! But iI am happy to recommend this service

Multiple device connections simultaneously

Unlimited server changes every month

Prices

Princes start from $6.49 a month for a 12 month plan BUT if you Subscribe Now you can get 20% off making it just over $5 bucks

subscribe-button

so the result

Should You Buy: Yes

Pro’s:

1) very simple software

2) all major platforms supported,

3) Perfect media streaming in HD

4) great choice of server locations

5) Money back guarantee

6) IPVanish do not keep logs of your activity

7) Bitcoin is now accepted as payment (Update 28/4/15)

8) Kill Switch now active (Update 28/4/2015)

9) regular software updates (16/01/2016)

Cons:

1) DDwrt set up could be done better via an applet

2) Android app may (or may not) make you sign in more than once

3) the desktop app doesn’t show you the speed of the connection

4) BitCoin is not accepted (only an issue if you are super into hiding and being anonymous!)

So, what are you waiting for. Subscribe to IPVanish today and get reliable, fast and secure connections for all your online streaming needs


  • Ease of Use
  • Features
  • Price
  • Reliability
4.6
UnlockWorldTV

IPVanish VPN

Editor's Rating:
4

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