There are 450+ servers unfold throughout greater than 100 places, as an example. There are apps for Home windows, Android, iOS, Mac and Kodi, in addition to Chrome and Firefox extensions. It is torrent-friendly, there’s no logging, the service helps as much as 5 simultaneous connections, plus it has a kill swap to guard your privateness if the connection drops. Technical pluses embody assist for PPTP, SSTP, L2TP, OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols, break up tunneling assist allows selecting which site visitors you route by the tunnel, and the characteristic checklist goes on.
We observed just a few catches, too. Ivacy’s servers do not all assist each protocol, as an example. Should you desire to make use of OpenVPN, you’ve got solely 21 places and 17 international locations to select from (examine the total server checklist right here.)
Costs are low at $9.95 billed month-to-month, a low $3.33 if you pay for a yr up-front, falling to a spectacular $2.25 on the two-year plan. That even beats Non-public Web Entry, which expenses $2.91 for its personal two-year possibility.
Uncommon elective extras embody a devoted IP for $1.99 a month, and port forwarding assist for $1 a month.
There’s broad assist for a number of cost strategies, embody card, PayPal, Alipay, Paymentwall, PerfectMoney, and Bitcoin through BitPay.
Ivacy does not provide a free plan or trial, however you’re protected by a 30-day money-back assure (or seven days for monthly-billed accounts.) This used to incorporate some sneaky catches – you were not lined in case you’d used greater than 7GB of knowledge, or linked greater than 30 instances – however these have luckily disappeared since our final evaluation.
We did spot one other potential problem, although, in that you just will not qualify for a refund in case you use ‘Bitcoin, BitPay, Coin Funds (Cryptocurrency) & Fee Wall as your cost technique.’ Preserve that in thoughts earlier than you join.
Privateness and logging
Ivacy has a wonderful privateness coverage which spells out the whole lot it data, and the whole lot it does not, in refreshingly clear element. This is a key paragraph:
‘We strictly don’t log or monitor, on-line searching actions, connection logs, VPN IPs assigned, authentic IP addresses, searching historical past, outgoing site visitors, connection instances, information you’ve got accessed and/or DNS queries generated by your finish. Now we have no data that would affiliate particular actions to particular customers.’
Should you’ve ever spent an age crawling round VPN small print and its assist website searching for an indication of a touch of a clue about its privateness coverage, you may respect how uncommon it’s to get that a lot data crammed into a few sentences.
The coverage goes on to clarify the private information it does acquire (identify, e mail tackle, cost strategies) and different assortment strategies (app crash reviews and diagnostics, Google Analytics on the web site). This is not superb, however it’s higher than many opponents, and it was good to see that Ivacy additionally lets you request the deletion of your private data through its web site Members Space.
Signing up with Ivacy labored very similar to another VPN we have ever used. We selected a plan and cost technique, handed over our money, Ivacy despatched us a Welcome e mail with a hyperlink to arrange our password, and the web site supplied hyperlinks to Ivacy’s many consumers.
We downloaded, put in and launched the Home windows consumer with out problem, however then bumped into an issue. It required us to log in. Not with a VPN-specific login, however the identical one as the web site. Worse, it would not keep in mind our credentials, both, so we have been compelled to re-enter them, each time we launched the consumer.
There’s an argument that this prevents anybody with entry to the system from utilizing your VPN, however we’re undecided how massive of a problem that will probably be. We expect the actual problem right here is that customers will probably be tempted to decide on a brief and insecure password, simply to allow them to keep in mind and enter it shortly. As these credentials are additionally used on the web site, that makes their account extra prone to be hacked, and for others to have the ability to use their account.
The consumer interface appears to be like just like many different VPN apps. The opening display has a big Join button which can routinely join you to the closest server, as an example, or you possibly can select your location from a listing. This checklist could be displayed as international locations or cities, however there is not any search field or different filters, and no Favorites system to save lots of commonly-used servers.
A left-hand toolbar helps you select servers for specific duties. Click on Streaming, as an example, and also you’re in a position to decide on streaming providers you’d wish to unblock and look at (Amazon Prime, Newpaper24, Hulu, Netflix and lots of extra.)
Different choices embody ‘Unblocking’ that can assist you entry geoblocked websites, and ‘Safe Obtain’, the place apparently the service ‘scans for any viruses or malware within the information being downloaded and removes it at server degree.’ The web site web page on this characteristic says it ‘scans and removes such viruses and malicious information earlier than they even make their method to your gadgets.’ That makes it sound prefer it’s checking the contents of the information you are downloading, however our exams counsel it is in all probability utilizing a easy DNS blacklist to dam harmful URLs.
Settings allow selecting your most popular startup mode, for instance opening with the Streaming web page. There’s an possibility to change protocol (OpenVPN UDP or TCP, L2TP or IKEV), a kill swap and break up tunneling assist.
Put all of it collectively and the consumer has some fascinating options, however there are points, too. The placement checklist is just too fundamental (no Favorites, no ping or server load instances), it is lacking some small choices we might anticipate to see (a Join menu once we right-click the system tray icon), there are lags and delays with some actions, we have seen it dangle for some time and use numerous CPU time for no obvious motive.
Desktop shoppers usually include probably the most options, however Ivacy’s Android app was surprisingly succesful, with the identical connection modes (streaming, downloading, unblocking), a connection checklist displayed by nation or metropolis, a kill swap and break up tunneling. It even had a bonus additional in a Multi-Port possibility to seek out the very best port to your system.
We have been nonetheless uncertain about some components of the Android app. As an example, its protocol alternative appears to suggest that it is utilizing OpenVPN, however taking a look at our check connection, we’re undecided that is true. However there is not any doubt Ivacy apps have extra options than most, and in case you’re searching for energy above all else, that will probably be fascinating.
Assessing the efficiency of any VPN begins by wanting on the connection time, and Ivacy was worse than most. The Home windows consumer would usually spend approaching a minute telling us it was ‘fetching location’ (ready to be allotted an IP tackle, we expect).
We observed it was utilizing one full CPU core for all this wait time, too, apparently as a result of it is querying the OpenVPN service, which suggests to us that there is some horribly inefficient code beneath.
After we did get linked, the VPN would sometimes drop unexpectedly. You may activate a kill swap to dam web entry if this occurs, and have the consumer redial routinely, however neither possibility is enabled by default.
One other occasional drawback noticed the consumer inform us we have been linked, however depart us unable to entry the web. We do not know whether or not this was some native problem (the consumer hadn’t arrange the connection correctly), a distant one (the server was by some means damaged) or one thing in between, however it’s nonetheless a priority.
Speeds have been inconsistent, too. Our nearest UK servers ranged from 30-65Mbps on our 75Mbps check line; Europe managed something from 20-60Mbps; the US gave us 10-40Mbps; and long-distance servers lastly managed some consistency, however solely as a result of they have been uniformly poor, with Australia and New Zealand barely reaching 10Mbps and some (Taiwan) so gradual as to be unusable.
The Ivacy web site boasts that it lets you ‘stream something, wherever’, which sounds good to us. And this is not simply obscure advertising waffle – the apps embody streaming capabilities the place are particularly designed to unblock Netflix and lots of different streaming platforms.
To do this, we launched the Home windows consumer, clicked Streaming > Choose Channel > Netflix, and watched because the consumer informed us we have been connecting to ‘Netflix US’. As soon as we have been on-line, the consumer requested if we needed to observe US Netflix. We clicked Sure, our default browser opened on the Netflix website, and it labored – we have been in a position to stream Netflix content material as regular.
We moved on to US YouTube, anticipating success, as a result of YouTube hardly blocks something, however – no. It did not allow us to in. We solved the issue by manually logging in to a brand new US server, which did permit us to stream content material, however that is not precisely handy.
We completed our checks by making an attempt to stream the Newpaper24, however the consumer took an age earlier than we have been linked, and never solely did not give us entry to the Newpaper24 participant, however left us unable to entry the web in any respect. Making an attempt to shut the connection left the consumer utilizing a full CPU core once more till ultimately regular web entry was restored. (A probably associated problem with Ivacy’s doubtful coding is that Cancel and different buttons usually refuse to work whereas the consumer is hung up doing one thing else.)
Switching to plan B, we closed the consumer, restarted, and allowed it to entry our nearest UK server. Sadly, that did not assist very a lot: we have been in a position to get on-line, this time, however the Newpaper24 refused to stream content material, displaying its regular warning that ‘this content material will not be obtainable in your location.’
The Ivacy assist website is at all times obtainable in case you run into issues, with an assortment of set up, troubleshooting and different guides. There’s some helpful content material, however not as a lot element as we wish, just a few of the articles are outdated (for instance utilizing screenshots from outdated variations of the consumer), and it will probably’t start to match the skilled articles from main VPN suppliers resembling ExpressVPN.
Fortuitously, the web site additionally presents 24/7 dwell chat assist. We had a helpful response in round a minute once we posed a check query, a lot better than we have seen with a lot of the competitors.
The replies we noticed have been comparatively quick and to the purpose, leaving us a bit of uncertain whether or not the agent was clear about what we needed to know. That is maybe to be anticipated if the agent is not a local English speaker, although, as appears probably. However the content material of the responses is what issues most, and right here Ivacy scored nicely, with correct solutions which shortly pointed us to the very best options for our issues.
Ivacy presents a pile of superior options for a significantly low value, however we additionally observed vital points with connection reliability, pace and the Home windows consumer. Demanding customers may wish to test it out anyway (there is a minimal 7-day money-back assure), however do some intensive testing before you purchase.