Ivacy: The Most Underrated VPN I’ve Come Across Yet

Ivacy

$4.08
8.1

Price

8.5/10

Security

8.5/10

Features

7.5/10

Speed

9.0/10

Support

7.0/10

Pros

  • Excellent speeds
  • Far reaching server network

Cons

  • App could be better
  • Support could be better as well
  • Confusing pre-set connection profiles

When I looked at its neat design, slick website, and impressive (advertised) features, I couldn’t help but wonder why Ivacy wasn’t as popular as some of the other top-tier VPNs. I had to dig online to find it. But it seemed to be comparable with the best of them in every way – or at least, it looked to be. So is Ivacy just a late bloomer waiting for its moment to shine or is the polished veneer merely a guise for yet another mediocre VPN service provider.

We were off to a rough start. After I activated my account and entered my credentials on the iPhone app, I was prompted with a “Please Wait” message that never went away. I had to restart the app, but sure enough, I was logged on.

The app still takes a few seconds to launch – a couple of extra seconds from what you expect from mobile applications – but the interface design is simple, intuitive, and very decent looking.

Ivacy iphone interface

Now let’s look deeper

Features

Server Network

More than 450 servers in over 100 locations.

The Americas: Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, the United States, and Venezuela.

Europe: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

Asia: Brunei, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, the UAE (Dubai).

Africa: Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Seychelles.

Oceania: Australia and New Zealand.

Fifty-seven countries. Not a bad count at all. Sits well above the average and doesn’t miss any important markets. Asia, in particular, is very well covered, something you don’t typically see in many VPNs. So is South America. Africa isn’t too shabby either.

450 servers is not a huge number, but what we’ve come to lean that server count can often be nothing more than a marketing ploy. All will be revealed in the speed test.

Unlimited bandwidth, server switches, and uncapped speeds are to be expected from any respectable VPN provider, but they are still worth a mention.

Platforms & Simultaneous Connections

Ivacy offers native apps for the following platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, the big four so to speak. It also offer browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

The service can also be configured on a good number of other platforms too. That includes Linux, Blackberry, Smart TVs, Openelec, Apple TV, Chromecast, Raspberry Pi, PS3, Xbox, Roku, Boxee, and a number of routers, such as DD-WRT, Linksys, ASUS, D-Link, and TP-Link.

Ivacy does a good job at covering a wide range of platforms. So far, the service is standing up to the competition pretty well.

When it comes to multi-logins, Ivacy allows for the industry average of 5 simultaneous connections.

Smart Purpose Selection

Ivacy has preset profiles, configured based on your purpose for using the app. In fact, they sit under a tab labeled “Purposes”.

There are three so-called purposes: ‘Start Streaming’, ‘Secure Downloading’, and ‘Start Unblocking’.

Start Streaming is optimized for streaming channels. This means selecting servers fast enough to support HD video. Once you select the profile, you can then filter by country or choose a streaming service. The app so far lists the BBC iPlayer and TV Watching (which I’m not sure what it means. After selecting it the app connected me to a server in Venezuela).

Ivacy streaming mode

Secure Downloading sells the promise of “advanced (sic) server level virus & malware protection”. It can be enabled with a toggle button, once you do that, the country list will shrink to countries that host P2P ready servers.

Ivacy download mode

Start Unblocking, I suppose, unlocks restricted content. I’m not really sure how that’s different from using the regular server list. I didn’t notice any difference between the two and it is not explained on the website. I contacted their support to help me understand this but their response was a bit too succinct.

Split Tunneling

The Split Tunneling feature lets users split and prioritize their data traffic. They can choose to route part of their data through the VPN tunnel and let less important traffic go through the default connection.

Privacy

Protocols

Depending on the device you are using and the server you are connecting to, you might be using any of the following protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP, SSTP, and PPTP. Let’s break them down.

OpenVPN is an open source, robust software that is generally recommended “for the most security-conscious”. It is reliable and supports a great number of strong encryption algorithms and ciphers. Ivacy uses 256-bit encryption.

IKEv2 is highly recommended too. It employs very strong cryptographic algorithms and keys. It is particularly well suited for mobile devices since it is good at reconnecting following a drop in the connection – think stuttery internet connections, driving through tunnels or in remote areas, or switching between a mobile and wifi connection. Naturally, IKEv2 is featured in many mobile VPN suites.

L2TP is typically used when newer protocols aren’t supported – think old hardware, or in cases where security isn’t a major concern. The protocol also used for countries where this particular protocol is able to penetrate government and ISP firewalls. It is not generally recommended unless necessary.

SSTP is a proprietary Microsoft protocol, making it a very good option for machines running the Windows operating system: it’s integrated into the system, making it more stable than other protocols when it comes to Windows machines. It is highly secure as well, and much less susceptible to blocking by firewalls than L2TP. It is only natively available on windows; aside from macs, it can run on other systems through third-party apps.

PPTP is the oldest of the bunch, and, understandably, the least secure. It is typically only used when security is not a concern.

Location & Logs

Ivacy is based in Singapore. That’s bad news. Leaked documents have shown that Singapore, along with South Korea, regularly provide governments of the 5 Eyes alliance with sensitive information and resources.

If you’re unaware of what 5 Eyes refers to, here’s what you need to know. Starting right after World War 2, certain governments sought to create information sharing alliances. It started with the UK and the US, and later expanded to include Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, hence the name 5 Eyes. These governments allow each other to spy on almost anyone, including each other’s citizens. You won’t be shocked now if I told you that the alliance has been implicated with one too many spying scandals.

Ivacy, however, collects minimal information on its users, small enough for it to qualify as a no logs VPN.

Their privacy policy reads: “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 keeps the following information though:

  • Your Name
  • Email Address
  • Payment Method

Ivacy also collects minimal reports and statistics, but the data collected does not contain any identifiable information or user data. For crash reports, the service collects the following:

  • Events occured
  • Performance data
  • Failed connection attempts
  • Application usage
  • Aggregated bandwidth usage

DNS, Kill Switch, IPv6 Leak Protection

Requests are routed through Ivacy’s DNS server to prevent any DNS leak. The Internet Kill Switch immediately shuts down your connection and keeps it from reverting back to the default connection if it gets disconnected from their secure VPN servers. And all IPv6 traffic is forced into the VPN, blocking any potential leak at the source.

Support

Live chat support was decent. Representatives were quick to come to my aid, they were well informed (about lighter matters) and, equally important, extremely courteous. They failed me once when I inquired about the mysterious ‘Start Unblocking’ profile, so I reached out to them via email, which is typically where you send your more serious inquiries and will be updating this review as soon as they get back to me.

Speed

Ivacy is one of the fastest VPN we’ve tested.

Using servers in the US, download speed drop 8.6%, in the UK, 6.1%, and in France, 16.2%. Upload speed dropped 28.7% in the US, almost no drop was recorded in the UK, whereas in France, upload seemed to suffer a lot and dropped 76.7% on average in our tests.

Price & Verdict

Ivacy pricing

For four dollars a month, Ivacy is a very good choice, a true contender. The app can use some work, but if you can provide that kind of speed you make a serious case for yourself. And with all the other VPN review checkboxes ticked – the right protocols, the right security measures, the right policies, and good support – Ivacy is a top VPN.

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