Ivacy VPN review

Ivacy VPN review: Ivacy is a Singapore-based VPN that – according to the website – is an ‘award-winning best VPN’ that offers just about every feature you might need for almost no money. Is that right, or just a marketing pin? As usual, there is a bit of both. For example, the Servers page on the website claims to offer over 1000 servers in over 100 locations in more than 50 countries.

A wide range of programs includes downloads for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, as well as Chrome, Edge, and Firefox extensions, and there are instructions for setting up the service manually on routers, Kodi, Linux, consoles, and more. Ivacy is torrent-friendly, malware is blocked, there is no logging, the service supports up to five simultaneous connections, plus it has a ‘kill’ switch to protect your privacy if the connection fails.

Ivacy VPN review: Privacy

Ivacy has an excellent privacy policy that captures everything it registers and everything it does not register in refreshingly clear detail. Here is an important paragraph: We do not strictly log or monitor online browsing activities, connection logs, assigned VPN IPs, original IP addresses, browsing history, outgoing traffic, connection times, data you have accessed, and DNS queries generated by you. We have no information that could link specific activities to specific users.

If you’ve ever spent an age researching the fine print and support site of a VPN looking for a hint of a clue about its privacy policy, you’ll understand how rare it is to cram so much information into a few sentences.

The policy continues with details about the personal information Ivacy collects (name, email address, payment methods) and other collection methods (app crash reports and diagnostics, Google Analytics on the website). This is not ideal, but it is better than many competitors. It was good to see that Ivacy also offers you the opportunity to request your data’s deletion through the Member area of its website.

Unfortunately, there is no way to verify this information. Other VPNs are increasingly subject to public security and privacy audits – TunnelBear has three annual audits of its apps, infrastructure, website, and more – but Ivacy has not yet done so. Hopefully, this will change soon.

Ivacy VPN review: Protocols

There is more than one taste of the VPN protocol. There is a whole rainbow of protocols designed to protect your data. In general, I prefer OpenVPN. This protocol is newer, known for its speed, and is open-source. The latter is crucial because it means that many eyes have searched its code for possible vulnerabilities. The Windows app supports OpenVPN in TCP and UDP flavors and the older L2TP, and the newer IKEv2. It irritates me that the app doesn’t clearly label it as OpenVPN TCP and UDP, but that’s a small problem. Ivacy has modern, excellent technology under the hood.

Servers and locations

When comparing VPN companies, it is useful to look at how many servers the company offers and where they are located. In general, the closer the server is to you, the better performance you will experience. So having many servers in many different places means you’re more likely to have a better experience no matter where you might roam.

Ivacy only offers 459 servers, a bit below the minimum threshold of 500 servers I have come to expect. There are now many VPN services that exceed 700 and even 1,000 servers that I may need to increase the cut-off soon. NordVPN is currently leading the pack with over 3,400 servers, and Private Internet Access is close behind with 3,275. TorGuard has recently expanded its offering to 3,000 servers, making it one of the three most vital services I have rated so far.

Although Ivacy lacks in numbers, the servers it has been well distributed. The company offers 100 server locations, conquering the 59 countries offered by NordVPN and TunnelBear’s 22. In particular, PureVPN offers 180 locations in 140 countries, but it is the undefeated 286 locations of HideMyAss in 220 countries that lead this category.

Ivacy also has some very strategically positioned servers. While most VPN companies ignore the entire African continent, Ivacy has six locations. South and Central America is another region skipped by many VPN companies, but not by Ivacy. It also provides servers in regions with repressive Internet censorship, including China, Russia, and Turkey.

Ivacy, in turn, only uses 26 virtual servers. HideMyAss, on the other hand, can support its incredible number of server locations because only 61 of its servers are physical. The rest, with almost 300 servers, is virtual. NordVPN has no virtual servers, while Private Internet Access and TunnelBear use virtual servers to house users instead of supporting faux locations.

Ivacy VPN review: Streaming service support

The Ivacy website prides itself on ‘stream anything, anytime, anywhere,’ which sounds good to us. And this is not just a vague marketing waffle – the apps contain specialized streaming locations that aim to unblock Netflix and many other streaming platforms.

To try this, we launched the Windows client, chose the streaming mode and the Netflix channel, and looked at how the client was connected. Then the client asked us if we wanted to view US Netflix, and if we clicked Yes, it opened our default browser on the Netflix site. That’s all very convenient, but it didn’t work; Netflix detected the VPN and refused to stream the content.

Fortunately, this was not the end of the story. Ivacy also provides browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, and like the apps, they also support different streaming platforms. We switched from the Windows client to the Chrome extension, opted for the American Netflix channel, and this time succeeded in viewing content.

That was good news, and as we continued testing, it only got better. We got back to the client, continued viewing BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, US YouTube, and Disney+, and Ivacy got us all four.

This isn’t a perfect unblocking performance – ExpressVPN got us into everything from its apps without having to use the browser extension – but Ivacy outperforms many, and it’s just the beginning of the VPN’s capabilities. The client Streaming panel supports the unblocking of many other platforms, including ABC, BT Sport, CBS, Fox Sports Now, HBO Now, Hulu, NBC, and more.

Ivacy VPN review: Performance

Our performance tests started with viewing the connection times. We have seen problems here in previous Ivacy-reviews, but this time they were very acceptable, e.g., connecting via OpenVPN in just 5-6 seconds (some VPNs take twice as long, or more).

We were unable to complete our UK speed tests due to technical issues, but as we are not sure of the cause, we do not count this for Ivacy. The results we achieved range from 75-170Mbps, a larger hole than average, although this may also be due to our test problems. However, most decent VPN’s score around 100-200Mbps, so it seems that Ivacy can reach an average speed.

We checked our results by running some tests from an American location with an ultra-fast 600Mbps connection. We had no problems collecting our data, and Ivacy’s downloads were consistent but slightly below average at 70-80Mbps.

So the service has enough power for many tasks but still lags far behind providers such as Speedify (which peaked at 315Mbps+ in recent tests), NordVPN (380Mbps+), and Hotspot Shield (415Mbps).

Ivacy VPN review: Pricing and plans

Prices are generally low. Monthly billing is reasonable at $9.95, but this falls to $3.50 on the annual plan, and the five-year subscription is a ridiculously cheap $1.16 a month. To put that into perspective, you get five-year coverage for a $69.99 upfront payment. Even a one-year HideMyAss plan is only marginally cheaper at $59.88. If you only use Ivacy for a few years, it still seems to be of great value.

Ivacy VPN review

Optional extras include unique IPs (US, UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore) for a very reasonable $1.99 per month (NordVPN charges $70 per year) and port forwarding support $1 per month. There is support for multiple payment methods, including card, PayPal, Alipay, Paymentwall, PerfectMoney, and Bitcoin via BitPay.

If you are tempted, there is even more good news – a trial option gives you seven days to view the service for just $0.99, enough time to get a feel for Ivacy’s skills.

Please note that the 7-day trial period is automatically extended as the annual plan unless you cancel. Luckily, even if you sign up and regret it, you are still protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee (or seven days for monthly billing).

Ivacy VPN review: Customer support

The Ivacy support site is always available if you encounter problems, with a range of installation, troubleshooting, and other guides. There is some useful content, but not as much detail as we would like. Some of the articles are outdated (e.g., using screenshots of old customer versions), and it can’t begin to match the professional articles from significant VPN providers such as ExpressVPN. Fortunately, the website also offers 24/7 live chat support. We had a useful answer in about a minute when we asked a test question – much better than we’ve seen with most of the competition.

Ivacy’s email support is a little slower, not surprisingly, but still acceptable. We usually got a good response within about three hours, with the fastest response being about 30 minutes; also better than you’ll see with much more expensive competitors.

Final words

Ivacy VPN offers a similar set of features provided by most other VPN companies at a lower price. It has one or two notable additions, but otherwise, it doesn’t bring much news in a very crowded space. That’s not a problem. The problem is that the service has far fewer servers than the competition, reflected in my speed test scores. Also, we couldn’t use Ivacy’s browser extensions, and some of the VPN servers I tried to connect to in my tests didn’t work. Finally, the app seemed to have trouble choosing the best servers in our tests.

7.5 Total Score
Our Verdict

Ivacy is inexpensive and has an attractive list of features, but the below-average speeds, the various problems with Windows clients, and the recent lack of important service updates should be a concern. Try the service if you're looking for a bargain, but test it carefully.

PROS
  • Lots of features
  • Responsive support
  • Cheap long-term plans
  • Great at unblocking Netflix and more
CONS
  • The best value plan is for a lengthy 5 years
  • No security/privacy audit
  • No WireGuard
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