Singapore-based Ivacy is a very cost-effective VPN provider, but is it the best VPN on the market? As with many things in life you get what you pay for, and VPNs are no different. Whilst Ivacy has one of the cheapest subscription plans out there, that doesn’t automatically make it the best choice.
There are also certain points that potential buyers should be aware of, such as the discrepancy between how many servers it claims to have compared to how many it lists, and the fact that it hasn’t had its privacy and security practices externally audited. But the most important thing to consider when it comes to choosing a VPN depends on how you plan to use it.
In our review, we’ll assess the features that make Ivacy stand out against the competition, and summarize its functionality to help you decide whether this is the right VPN for you.
Ivacy 1-minute review
Ivacy’s short-term plans are decent value at $9.95 a month, but commit for longer and you’ll understand the provider’s reputation for value – a five-year plan weighs in at just $1 a month, which is practically unbeatable.
While it’s not quite as superfast or as reliable as the very best, Ivacy’s speeds should be more than enough for most users. In the UK we saw speeds between 75-170Mbps, and in the US we saw speeds of around 70-80Mbps.
Ivacy’s pretty good for streaming, and after a small hiccup with Netflix Australia, it completed a clean sweep of unblocking Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer. Combine that with full P2P torrenting support, and you’ve got yourself a fine VPN for accessing a huge amount of content.
The desktop apps have a server filtering tool that helps you choose the right server for the right purpose – for example, accessing Netflix UK – and this is very useful. However, Mac users are left in the lurch compared to Windows users, and the macOS app lacks a kill switch, split tunneling, and any sort of protocol options.
It’s a similar story for the Android and iOS offerings. The Android app is almost as powerful as the Windows client, and has a good feature set. The iPhone app, however, is sparse. It’s worth noting that both will let you choose your protocol, though.
Subscribers will have access to 24/7 live chat, which is useful in practice. You’ll also be able to browse a well-stocked knowledge base for support articles.
Overall, Ivacy offers great value and doesn’t sacrifice too much in the process. However, it just can’t quite match up with more premium services that in practice don’t cost a whole lot more.
Ivacy on paper
Number of servers: 3,500+
Number of countries: 100+
Platforms supported: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, routers, Chrome, Firefox, Edge Fire Stick, Android TV
Simultaneous connections: Five
Split tunneling: Yes (Windows)
Kill switch: Yes
Supported protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP, PPTP, IPSec
Country of registration: Singapore
Support: Articles, email, live chat
Ivacy price: how much is it and is there a Ivacy free trial?
Considering its most expensive subscription model costs $9.95 per month, Ivacy is a pretty cheap VPN. What’s more, if you were to opt for Ivacy’s five-year subscription plan, then you’d be getting one of the best value-for-money VPNs on the market. Billed as a one-off payment of $60, this equates to just $1 per month.
Ivacy’s one-year plan, on the other hand, is billed as a one-off payment of $42, equal to $3.50 per month. Moreover, a dedicated IP comes at an additional $1.99 per month, and port forwarding can be bought for an extra $1 per month.
Ivacy also offers a money-back guarantee on all its subscriptions, seven days if you’ve chosen the one-month subscription and 30 days for the annual and five-year plans. There are a few other strings attached to the money-back guarantee, including your payment method, so it’s worth checking the refund policy if this is a concern.
Speaking of payment methods, there are plenty of options when it comes to buying an Ivacy subscription. This includes standard credit cards, PayPal, BitPay, Coingate, and PerfectMoney.
How private is Ivacy and does it keep logs?
‘We strictly do not log or monitor online browsing activities, connection logs, VPN IPs assigned, original IP addresses, browsing history, outgoing traffic, connection times, data you have accessed and/or DNS queries generated by your end. We have no information that could associate specific activities to specific users.’
Ivacy’s other security features include 256-bit encryption, an internet kill-switch, IPv6 Leak Protection, DNS encryption, and DDoS protection.
As good as this might all sound, it’s unfortunate that Ivacy is yet to put itself through public security and privacy audit. So whilst it’s all well and good that Ivacy claims to practice such privacy methods, there’s no evidence to back it up. Such audits are becoming commonplace in the VPN market, so hopefully this will change over time.
How fast is Ivacy?
Unfortunately, we ran into some technical difficulties when completing our UK speed tests, but we won’t hold this against Ivacy because we’re not sure why this happened.
However, the results we did manage to get ranged from 75 to 170Mbps, which is a wider gap than what we’re used to, though that could be due to our testing problems. With any decent VPN we’d expect speeds between 100 to 200Mbps, so our results suggest that Ivacy can only reach mid-range speeds.
Following this, we ran tests in the US using an ultra-fast 600Mbps connection and cross-checked the results. Whilst we had no issue collecting the data and download speeds were consistent, the speeds came in just under average at 70–80Mbps.
This means that whilst Ivacy is capable of powering many tasks, it’s trailing far behind its competitors, such as Speedify (which peaked at 315Mbps+ in recent testing), NordVPN (380Mbps+), and Hotspot Shield (415Mbps), which might make better choices if you’re looking for a fast VPN.
How good is Ivacy for streaming and torrenting?
Unlocking content from streaming providers such as Netflix and Amazon Prime is a key reason why many people purchase a VPN. But is Ivacy the best Netflix VPN out there?
When we tested Ivacy for streaming geo-specific content in Australia, Netflix detected the VPN and blocked the content. However, on the second test, this time connecting to a different Australian server, the content played without any difficulty. Moreover, both BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime worked on the first attempt. It’s also worth mentioning that when we tried to watch the same content, this time using ExpressVPN to connect to an Australian server, we had no issues.
When it comes to using Ivacy as a torrenting VPN, this provider is P2P-friendly and prevents bandwidth throttling. Also, with the port-forwarding feature that’s available as an add-on, users can increase the download speed of large files. Other than this, there aren’t any features that make Ivacy really stand out as a torrenting VPN.
How good are Ivacy’s desktop apps?
For Mac, the Ivacy desktop app is pretty basic, and unlike its Windows counterpart, doesn’t have a kill switch or an option for split tunneling—nor can you choose your connection type. This is pretty poor for a premium VPN service, but Windows users have a lot more functionality.
For example, on the Windows version, you’ll find settings that enable you to switch protocol (OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, L2TP, or IKEv2), activate split tunneling, a kill switch, and multiport settings to help bypass VPN blocks.
In case you’re unfamiliar with all the protocols, here’s a quick breakdown. OpenVPN is an open-source protocol, meaning developers can access its code. It’s become one of the most popular protocols due to its use of (practically unbreakable) AES-256 bit key encryption with 2048-bit RSA authentication and a 160-bit SHA1 hash algorithm.
OpenVPN UDP is faster than OpenVPN TCP, but can be less reliable, whereas TCP is more secure—but because of its tougher encryption, can be slower. L2TP (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol), on the other hand, provides less security and slower speeds. Finally, IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange version 2) is both fast and secure but doesn’t work on all platforms, and has the potential to be blocked by firewalls.
Moving on from the protocol breakdown, both desktop apps do share a toolbar to help you choose the best servers for specific tasks. For example, the Streaming tab will help you access specific content providers (Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, etc.).
Then there are other tabs such as Unblocking to help you access geo-specific sites, and Secure Download, which apparently ‘scans for any viruses or malware in the data being downloaded and removes it at server level.’ The website states that this ‘scans and removes such viruses and malicious files before they even make their way to your devices.’
It’s also worth noting that Ivacy claims to have more than 2,000 servers in over 100 locations around the world. However, at time of writing, the list of servers directly below that claim adds up to only 763.
How good are Ivacy’s mobile apps?
If you plan on using Ivacy as a mobile VPN, then it’s worth knowing that it’s a similar story between iOS and Android versions of the app. Where the Android VPN boasts almost as much functionality as the Windows version, the iPhone VPN is as restricted as the Mac version. That said, the iOS version does at least let you switch between IKEV and IPSec protocols.
What customer support does Ivacy offer?
If you find yourself needing help and/or advice on how to use Ivacy, or if you’re having technical difficulties, 24/7 support is available via live chat on the company website, email, and tickets. We sent two queries via the live webchat and got a helpful response within minutes.
Ivacy’s website also boasts a support center, which includes quick start guides for all compatible platforms, video tutorials (which directs you to its rather underwhelming YouTube channel), and an FAQ section. So if you’re having any difficulty, Ivacy is well equipped to help you.
Ivacy: Final verdict
In terms of price, Ivacy is one of the front-runners in the VPN space, and if the main reason you’re buying a VPN is to unlock the full potential of streaming services such as Netflix, you’re unlikely to be disappointed.
However, if privacy and security is a top concern then you may want to consider another provider such as ExpressVPN, which has been audited by independent experts, including PwC and Cure53.