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About IPVanish / IPVanish Review
The post-Snowden era of online privacy and data security has ushered in a lot of providers of VPN services. IPVanish is one of them, with an ever increasing number of global VPN servers spread across the world. IPVanish is an ever evolving system of VPN servers that helps almost anyone with an Internet access to secure their transactions. The only other VPN service that is currently superior to its service is HideMyAss. However, IPVanish is the only of the only VPNs that provides high speed as well as 256-bit encryption of the data.
There are many other VPN services providers with unique value additions beyond the base VPN offering. This review would look into what IPVanish has to offer as well as a comparison with two prominent market players in the VPN services space. A comparison with these two competitors will give a good perspective of what IPVanish has to offer in terms of something “extra”.
IPVanish was founded about 15 years ago and has ever since enjoyed a good market share in this niche avenue of VPN service providers. IPVanish has been able to develop, expand and sustain a global network of high speed VPN servers which can be accessed over more than 7000 IP addresses. There aren’t many details available about the founders, other than that it has its office in Europe and North America. Though it is to be noted that IPVanish VPN services have been around in the market under that brand name for a little over 3 years only.
Apart from having a rich history in the industry, IPVanish has good technology which is reflected in the number of devices that are supported by them. These include Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, to name a few. Such plethora of options are not available with other service providers and this perches IPVanish at the helm of technology when it comes to VPN services. Later parts of this review delve into the details of the technological capabilities of the VPN services.
The company offers monthly, quarterly and yearly plans. All the plans have the same Technical facilities. the only difference being the tenure. The monthly plan is currently costing dollar 10, 3 months plan costs 27 dollars and yearly plan costs 78 dollars. These are current low prices and can change. These lowered prices are seemingly to thwart competition and maintain a dominant position in the market. IPVanish offers many features with each of its plans. The most prominent one being the availability of various protocols of VPN. This is important because not every company can provide the variety provided by IPVanish. Furthermore a critical aspect of it service is the no logging facility. This is essence makes sure that no records of any user are ever stored in the system. Let us go into detail of each of these features:
- Device Freedom
The software client works on Windows, Mac, Android, Linux and tablets. the software can be downloaded from the website. Moreover, there is also a software client for Chrome OS, which helps users of Chrome book to access the Internet using IPVanish VPN services.
- 100 percent online security
What this means is that once you connect to the VPN servers you are completely secure as in 256 bit SSL encryption happens of all the data. In this manner, all the data is secured in transition and cannot be decrypted by any hacker, and would just look like gibberish to anyone.
- NAT Firewall
NAT means Network Address Translation, which is a protocol used on the Internet for understanding IP address of users when transiting from the World Wide Web to any Local Area Network (LAN). This protocol is often exploited by nefarious individuals to gain unauthorised access to unsuspecting computers. A NAT firewall means there is no possibility of your data being hacked or sniffed.
- No Logging
All the data that passes to and fro your computer is not logged into the VPN sources of IPVanish. So, even if someone get access to IPVanish servers, there are no logs available of your usage of the VPN services. So even if a subpoena happens against IPVanish, there are no logs available that identify you.
- Unlimited VPN Use
There is no bandwidth capping on the use of the VPN services of IPVanish. That means unlimited data can be downloaded and uploaded via the IPVanish servers. This providers a headache free use of VPN, without bothering to count the amount of megabytes you uploaded or downloaded.
- Wi-Fi Hot-spot Protection
The data encryption also secures the Wi-Fi hot spot from which you are accessing the Internet. Which ensures your Internet router is not compromised and unwarranted access to anyone is not given.
- 7000+ IPs
When accessing the Internet via IPVanish servers, your IP address is not exposed to the world wide Web, but dynamically changing IP addresses of IPVanish are used, thus securing your online identity. The IP address seen by the end computer is not yours but that of IPVanish, which keeps you off the hook, in case anyone is snooping on you.
- 230 VPN Servers
As this is being written, IPVanish has 230 servers spread across the globe in each continent, in more than 50 countries worldwide. A large network of servers ensures that you are never policed and always get access to the VPN service from anywhere in the world. Additionally, this is what is responsible for the exceptional speed provided by IPVanish.
- Tier 1 Network
This simply means that you will get great speed. A preconception is sometimes that encryption slows the connection and affects the bandwidth. While this is not the case, the bandwidth does not deteriorate with high speed IPVanish servers. There are machine algorithms that select the shortest path among the servers depending on the geographical location of the data you are trying to access on the Internet.
- Multiple Protocols Support
OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP are the VPN protocols that are supported by IPVanish services. Each protocol has its advantages, as no single protocol is there for VPN communications. Having the provision of multiple protocol support gives you the freedom to concentrate on your work, rather than the choice of protocols.
- VOIP Support
Internet telephony happens over the Internet and the protocol used is VOIP. IPVanish supports this protocol, which means your voice data over the Internet is also secured using VPN services. So, it’s safe to assume that all Skype calls are secure and cannot be hijacked on the network. For added security, it’s advisable that both side of the call use a VPN service, preferably the same VPN service.
The Desktop Client
The main software that lets you connect to the VPN servers of IPVanish is the software client. The Windows desktop client is worth a special mention owing to the prospect that it would lend us an understanding of every other IPVanish software client on other devices.
In essence, the software works in simple steps: select the protocol, select the server and then hit connect.This connects your computer to the IPVanish servers and routes all your Internet traffic through an encrypted channel, thence ensuring your privacy as well as security. Some other options are given in the software interface to let you fine tune your VPN connection settings. For instance, you can select the server with which your computer will connect. There is also an automatic option, which is selected by default, that connects you to the fastest (usually the nearest) server with respect to your location.
The IP Settings option helps you to dynamically change your IP address on the pre-defined time interval. The Account option lets you change your password from within the software. The last tab on the left of the desktop client is the Support tab, which has the FAQs and also helps you to connect to the IPVanish support team.
In a similar fashion, the Android phone and iPhone apps work to protect you on mobile Internet networks and WiFi networks. A good thing is that IPVanish hasn’t left out Linux users as there is a software client even for Ubuntu Linux. Tab devices of Android and Apple are equally well supported with apps. A unique offering is a client for Chromebooks is also available. The desktop and Mac clients have a size of about 7 megabytes, which is not large considering the benefits you are getting.
When using IPVanish, there are some peculiar data benefits. That does not mean you will get more megabytes in your ISP data plan, it means the Internet data defaults will change for you. These are basically these three:
- Video Streaming
Services like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube offer data as per your IP address. If you reside in USA, you get a different home page of YouTube and if you reside in Japan, you get a Japanese home page. But with IPVanish, you get an IP of the location of the VPN server. So, in effect you can circumvent your location’s data default and stream content based in the location of your choice.
- No Geo Targeting
When the IP address changes with the server being used, you can avoid online marketers, search engines and websites from exploiting your IP and location information. This ensures that your privacy is intact on the Web.
- Deep Packet Inspection
Some ISPs check the data packets flowing from to/from your computer and accordingly throttle your speed. But with a VPN connection, all your data is encrypted and cannot be read as to what kind of data it is. Thus, if your ISP lowers speed for video and torrent users, that can be avoided if you use IPVanish VPN or any VPN for that matter. So, the next time you stream a video, your ISP will not be able to see if you are streaming a video or browsing a website, and will not reduce your Internet speed.
In this mobile age, it is worth mentioning the mobile apps available for IPVanish. Both Android and iOS apps are available for download from respective app stores. Both app versions also support tablet devices i.e. Android tablets and iPad.
The Android app has all the features of the desktop app, with also a feature of graph showing the upload and download data statistics on graphs. Similar statistics are available on the iOS version of the app. Furthermore, the iOS app offers in-app subscription purchase options.
The functioning of the apps happens in a similar fashion as with the desktop client. The small screen interface is not very well designed but serves the purpose of securing mobile data over mobile ISP provider networks and WiFi networks.
Versus the Competition
IPVanish fairs well against the competition of the likes of HideMyAss and Vypr VPN. A comparison with the other providers does seem to do some good to the understanding of the benefits of using IPVanish VPN services
HideMyAss is a well known player in the VPN services market and it’s unique proposition is the number of servers that it has to offer, which is far beyond any other service. Another advantage that HideMyAss has over IPVanish is with regards to software implementation, namely PPTP. The word is that HideMyAss has a better PPTP implementation than IPVanish. IPVanish on the other hand is the fastest VPN service among all the others. And the number of servers of IPVanish are increasing every day. Only when the protocol implementations have improved can IPVanish establish a good repo in the VPN services market. Check out the latest HideMyAss coupons here.
- Vypr VPN
A strong contender, even for HideMyAss, is Vypr VPN. It is backed by great technology and great finance and it also claims to be the fastest VPN. Additionally, it is key to point out that VyprVPN apps are the best rated, close to 5 stars; both on Android and iOS. Whereas, IPVanish has only got about 3 star rating. Vypr VPN has a free service model as well, where 500 MBs are given free of cost on a monthly basis. IPVanish is not a new player and that’s what is positive about it versus new players like VyprVPN.
For basic users, these drawbacks would not matter much, but they would certainly matter for enterprise customers who are looking for a scalable, reliable, fast and device ubiquitous VPN service that helps to secure data. Of course, specialise services like Seclore are far beyond what VPNs have to offer, but a basic monthly plan of IPVanish would be sufficient to provide a high speed secure connection for the simple user.
IPVanish, like it’s competitors, is avidly present on the social media platforms of today, as the modern consumer is increasingly aware of the services and takes an informed decision with the help of online social circles.
It’s page on www.facebook.com/ipvanish has constant updates on news and events as well as updates on addition to it’s global network of anonymous VPN servers.
The company can be easily reached by their twitter handle @ipvanish and updates are available on www.twitter.com/ipvanish
- Google Plus
On Google+, the company’s page is at plus.google.com/+Ipvanish/posts. This has got very interesting posts on latest security news as well as the usual updates on servers which are also seen on the company’s Facebook page.
IPVanish’s YouTube page does not have much content, but only a few videos. A video is also there that explains the usage of the IPVanish desktop client usage. There are other videos that show how to setup the IPVanish VPN Windows desktop client for use as per various different VPN protocols like OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP.
The support forum at https://forum.ipvanish.com/ has more than 1000 support questions and an announcement section as well. The IPVanish support personnel respond to problems and questions on this forum page.
Should you go for it?
Yes and no. If speed and affordability with basic features is what you are looking for, then go for IPVanish. This would mostly apply to the first time VPN user who wants his/her security and privacy to be maintained on the Internet. But, for serious users, those who know technology, or for corporate users, this service is not entirely enough. As for speed and IP hopping, it is a good fit for that need. The crux is that it depends on your needs, which is divided on the usage and purpose coupled with the know-how. One critical use case that is most common and being focused on by IPVanish is that of speed. IPVanish provides very good speed on streaming scenarios like YouTube, NetFlix, etc.
Like all technologies, VPN is somewhat dependent on its users and the way they use it. If your password is too weak, then it doesn’t require any sophisticated hacking to crack it, but just some intelligent guess work. VPNs only help to maintain your anonymity and data security on the World Wide Web. Beyond that, good habits help.