IP Vanish: Watch Your Wallet
WARNING: BBB GIVES IPVANISH VPN AN "F" RATING AFTER 21 COMPLAINTS. MANY OF THE COMPLAINTS CONCERNED REFUSAL TO GRANT REFUNDS TO CUSTOMERS AFTER VALID CANCELLATIONS.
VPN services come in many different shapes and sizes. Some VPNs offer fantastic customization options that allow you to fine-tune your VPN experience, while others offer a basic no-thrills interface that enables even the most technophobic user to protect their data on the internet and secure their browsing.
Some companies get this right and others try to be too fancy or advanced for their own good, and this is one of the major problems with providers like IPVanish. Despite receiving some fairly decent reviews on the internet, we’ll be examining some of the major issues related to the Privacy, Speed, Accessibility, Support and Pricing of IPVanish, then conclude with a Bottom Line.
Privacy is often the utmost concern for people that use VPN services. The entire idea of a VPN is to protect your data and information while browsing, hence why companies often focus on privacy as their main selling point. However, IPVanish is a US-based company which means it is subject to an incredibly privacy-unfriendly jurisdiction known as 5 Eyes.
5 Eyes is an international surveillance alliance. There is also a 9 Eyes and 14 Eyes, but the United States is allied with Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom on this front. The idea is that these five countries (five eyes) will share information between them in order to strengthen their intelligence agencies. This is mainly for the sake of combating the war on terror which has made a gradual shift to the digital world, where plans and attacks are conducted across the internet. To deal with this threat, countries in these surveillance alliances share data with each and they have access to VPN services. In other words, they can pressure a VPN into releasing your data if they deem it necessary.
In the past, there have been many cases of the United States, United Kingdom and even Australia abusing this power. This should come as no surprise because when you have access to sensitive data such as the browsing history of an internet user, it’s easy to use your power for virtually any reason and no one can question your decisions.
Even though IPVanish is fairly detailed in the way it describes its zero-logs policy and offers a number of different servers and options, the fact that it’s a US-based VPN should already make you wary of using their services. To add to this, they don’t support several features that other VPN services do such as Obfsproxy, SSTP, Multihop and Tor over VPN.
So in short, while it’s not IPVanish’s fault for the 5 Eyes agreement, it’s hard to give a recommendation for any VPN service that is based in an international surveillance alliance country.
IP Vanish Speed
Speed is another major concern for VPN users. Cheaper and more secure services often have slower speeds because most people use them for browsing and light social media tasks. However, there’s a growing trend of using VPN services to secure your connection even when gaming, browsing YouTube or using it to access different on-demand streaming services. The more reliable and the faster the speeds are, the better the VPN service. It’s often required to make some compromise in order to get blazing-fast speeds with a low response time and IPVanish has made the worst compromise a VPN service can: reliability.
Yes, IPVanish has incredible download and upload speeds (albeit not the fastest) and fairly low ping times when accessing websites and services, This is fantastic–if it works. Connection times are considerably longer than other competing VPNs and the reliability takes a huge hit. This can be the result of a number of different factors, but getting constant disconnects and an unreliable service make IPVanish hard to recommend to anyone for anything but light browsing or situations where constant disconnections are not an issue.
However, living with an unreliable service will eventually give you a headache and if you’ve decided to subscribe for a lengthy period of time after initially experiencing IPVanish’s fast speeds, then you’re out of luck and will have locked yourself into a contract that is virtually useless. Of course, this unreliability can vary from user to user, so it’s recommended to try IPVanish if anything for at least an entire month before you decide if the unreliability is worth your money or not.
Compared to more established VPN services, IPVanish has a lower number of server locations and servers in total. While they do offer a large number of IP addresses (resulting in a large number of users), it means that the servers can become congested and this is most likely the cause of the unreliable yet fast speeds. Of course, your mileage will vary depending on the connections you use, the locations you access and the area you use IPVanish from.
While IPVanish does have decent coverage, it’s nothing special considering a VPN service of this calibre. There should be no excuses not to expand IPVanish’s global network and it feels cheap to pack more users onto a single server just to save money and make more profit for themselves.
When it comes to ease of use, IPVanish has an unintuitive interface that prevents users from accessing some of the better features of the software. Performance is generally quite bad across the software with some settings and pages seemingly doing nothing. This is most likely being caused by shoddy or poor programming which is disappointing considering IPVanish’s scale.
Luckily, the auto-connect feature works surprisingly well at locating the best server and there are a plethora of advanced options for users that want to tinker with their VPN service. This is great if you’re an advanced user and by playing with some settings, it’s possible to get a more reliable service that doesn’t cut out and retains its fast speeds. However, if you’re willing to put more effort into a VPN to use its advanced settings, then there are better options out there.
If you’re a basic user then the most important aspect of a VPN would be usability. If a VPN company cannot get the software right, then it’s hard for the user to make use of their broad network and capabilities. While it’s not the worst piece of software ever, it’s certainly not as usable as it seems and the issues it comes with are often too big to ignore.
IP Vanish Support
Customer support is yet another downside of IPVanish. One of the biggest concerns is that there is no live chat option which is arguably the simplest and most convenient way of getting a problem solved or having a query answered. To make things worse, email response times are incredibly slow compared to other big names and there’s a severe lack of guides and tutorials.
Yes, there’s a simple knowledge base that answers the most basic questions, but even this hasn’t been updated for a while due to the poor navigation options. The lack of video tutorials makes it difficult to learn how to use IPVanish and this can put off a lot of new users that haven’t used a VPN before.
At least the replies are fairly well-written and it’s easy to understand what the representatives are saying. However, the wait time for these responses is far too long and the lack of an immediate chat option to get in touch with support is a huge hindrance that makes IPVanish seem like a company stuck in the past.
At $10.00 a month for the basic service, we’re looking at fairly high prices that are not a fit for the service offered. With 12 months at $6.49 per month and 3 months at $8.99, the discounts for committing to IPVanish’s services simply aren’t good enough and there are better value options out there. To make things worse, the price only gives you access to 5 simultaneous connections. There are some VPN services that offer even more connections, more stable speeds and better privacy for less.
To make things worse, the inaccessibility of IPVanish’s software and the limited support options make it one of the worst VPN services on the market to date. While IPVanish does have incredible speeds that feel like a joy to use when they actually work, it’s hard to recommend their services at this price point.
IP Vanish Bottom Line
There are loads of different VPN services out there that have similar speeds, better reliability, better support and real privacy. When you boil down IPVanish into the basic components of privacy, speed, accessibility, support and pricing, it fails on virtually every aspect. There are far better options out there at more compelling prices and IPVanish just fails to shine. It attempts to be a jack-of-all-trades by offering blazing fast speeds and a large network, but because of its US-based location and poor support, it’s best to give IPVanish a miss unless you’re only after fast speeds that occasionally work.