Anyone looking to step up their online privacy and security levels would gravitate towards Virtual Private Network (VPN) software. These handy programs help encrypt your internet traffic, mask your online whereabouts, and enable you to access geo-restricted content.
But since heavy hitters usually dominate the market, lesser-known VPNs that can also offer outstanding features and great value are often overlooked. This review aims to scrutinize one of these lesser-known VPNs that got what it takes to compete with the big players. It’s called Ivacy VPN.
Hold on tight as we take you for a ride in test-driving Ivacy VPN from start to finish with a Pro Account. We will cover everything you need to know about it!
A Brief Overview of the Company’s History, Jurisdiction & Coverage
Founded in 2007, the Singapore-based Ivacy VPN has been around for 15 years in online privacy. It aims to empower internet users who want to interact with the digital world safely and securely. To assure their customers of transparency and value, Ivacy joined the US National Cyber Security Alliance as a member.
It is important to note here though, that while Singapore is considered “out of reach” of most mandatory data retention laws, they are known to cooperate with the Five Eyes Alliance (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United States, and the United Kingdom) in conducting surveillance. However, this should not matter, as Ivacy has a strict no-data logging policy as specified in their fine print.
Ivacy’s website boasts 5700+ servers in over 70 countries, across 300,000 shared IPs around the globe. They also offer P2P (person-to-person) torrenting-specific servers for individuals who want to guarantee speed and protection while torrenting.
Ivacy VPN’s Supported Platforms and Pricing
Before we jump into my first-hand experience in downloading, installing, and test-driving Ivacy VPN on my local machine, let’s do a quick rundown of what platforms Ivacy supports and what the pricing looks like.
For reference, I will be using a Pro Account Membership (one month) for this review. This section should give you an idea of what to expect if you choose to sign up and use Ivacy VPN.
|Devices||Kodi||Amazon Firestick||Android TV|
|Consoles||Xbox One, 360, Series X & S||PS3/PS4/PS5|
*If you’re interested in learning how to set up Ivacy VPN on any of these devices, you can find guides directly on Ivacy VPN’s website under the download section. Just click the device you intend to use.
Ivacy’s Exclusive Pricing Options (Pro Accounts – Not Free) & Payment Choices
|Monthly Plan||Annual Plan||5 Year Plan|
|Billed: $9.95/Month||Billed: $47.88 Total||Billed: $60.00 Total|
|$0 Savings||$71.40 Saved||$537 Saved|
Ivacy accepts the following forms of payment: all major credit cards, PayPal, BitPay, CoinGate, PerfectMoney, and others, as shown below.
Ivacy VPN is now offering a limited Black Friday deal, with up to 90% off. Check out the details here.
Initial Download & Installation – User Experience Test
The download experience was fairly straightforward. I simply clicked on the download page and chose Windows from the list, which opened a new page specific to Windows-operated machines. I then clicked on the Download App button to commence the download, which took less than 10 seconds to complete. The total download size was 27.7MB.
Small Bump On the Road
Upon downloading the app, my Windows Defender popped up with a “Threats Found” notification. Upon inspecting this in Windows Security – the threat was considered “high”. But a closer look at the actual detection reveals that the threat is the program “displays deceptive product messages,” which is adware.
It is important to distinguish here that adware is not a virus, but software designed to throw up advertisements on your screen. It is classified as PUP or Potentially Unwanted Program. When you look at the VirusTotal scan of the downloaded Ivacy setup file, you can see PUP listed multiple times. But when you run a Windows Defender scan against the downloaded file, it comes back with 0 threats found.
Does this mean that you shouldn’t download and use Ivacy VPN because of the potential adware? Not necessarily. It is likely a false positive and is something you should report to Ivacy support if it pops up for you.
- I had zero problems installing the software. It was as simple as reading through the terms of service and accepting it, choosing where I wanted to install Ivacy, and then waiting for it to run through its own setup. This took under 2-minutes to complete.
- When I launched Ivacy, I get a pop-up notification that my firewall was blocking some of the features. This is normal for this kind of software and does require you to hit “allow” for the program to launch properly.
Once launched, I was greeted by a Smart Connect Screen, where I could select the location or city that I wanted to connect through or choose the Automatic Option. As you can see from my screenshot, the left-hand sidebar is fairly straightforward.
In the menu, you have Secure Downloads, Streaming, Unblocking, Dedicated IP, My Account, Settings, and Help. Along the top, you have the Home and Login buttons. From here, I went ahead and hit login at the top to enter my account. Now, we are all set to test all of Ivacy’s features!
Verifying & Testing: Accessing Ivacy’s Built-In Features
In this section, we’re going through the Ivacy Windows App by accessing the built-in features and running some tests to make sure that (a) the features are present, and (b) that they work.
1. Unblocking Streaming Sites
Ivacy has the “Streaming” option in the left-hand menu, which allows you to access popular streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and more with a click of a button. I tested out Ivacy’s ability to unblock Netflix by connecting through the United States server and attempting to access Netflix. The process worked as follows:
- Click on the Streaming option in the left-hand sidebar.
- Click on Select a Country, and type in the United States (as shown below).
- Click on Netflix and hit Connect.
It worked flawlessly and I was able to stream without any buffering issues.
2. Secure Downloading
The next item on the menu to test is the “Secure Download” option. This is Ivacy VPN’s way of protecting your downloading habits through P2P or torrenting.
While I am not big into torrenting, what I can tell you here is that I went to Ivacy’s Settings, change the connection to UDP, and then choose secure downloading via a P2P Norway server (as shown above). When testing out to see if the download was secure, I found that my IP address was indeed hidden.
3. Dedicated IP
Ivacy offers dedicated IP addresses for an additional cost, which can be accessed through the “Dedicated IP” option in the left-hand menu. I did not test out this feature as it requires purchasing a separate dedicated IP address. Ivacy VPN, however, have servers located in multiple countries for those who need a dedicated IP for certain sites or applications.
4. Split Tunneling
Ivacy has a Split Tunneling feature that can be accessed through the Settings option. Split tunneling allows you to route specific applications through Ivacy’s VPN protection while allowing others to run without it.
For example, if you only wanted your web browser to run with Ivacy VPN’s protection but not your music streaming app, you can set it accordingly. I was able to successfully add Google Chrome as a selected app for split tunneling.
5. The Kill Switch
Ivacy also has the “Internet Kill Switch” feature, which cuts off your internet connection if Ivacy’s VPN protection drops. This is to ensure that your IP address and online activities are not exposed.
I tested this feature by disconnecting from Ivacy VPN while downloading a large file. My internet connection was indeed cut off, ensuring the safety and confidentiality of my IP address and P2P activities even when Ivacy’s protection dropped.
6. Speed Performance
Ivacy’s speed performance was decent – I did not experience any major slowdowns or lagging while streaming or browsing. But when engaged in online games, the ping did increase from about 16ms in League of Legends to about 85ms, which is still quite playable. However, Ivacy VPN’s multiple servers across several countries could be advantageous for those who need faster speeds for certain applications or sites.
7. Accessing Servers Via Smart Connect
Ivacy VPN has the “Smart Connect” feature, which allows you to quickly connect to Ivacy’s recommended server based on your location and needs. This is the primary way I connected when testing the app.
While the drop-down menu for choosing a country or city is relatively small, you can easily “favorite” locations for easier selection later on. This is what I did when I selected “United States” from the list of options (shown below). When you favorite a location, it goes to the top of the list, so you don’t have to scroll all the way through.
8. Security Protocols Offered
Ivacy VPN offers multiple security connection protocols, including Automatic, TCP, UDP, L2TP, IKEV, and WireGuard. These are accessible through the settings option, under connection.
Note: while I did not run any leak tests specifically, other reviews online reported that both the DNS/IP Leak Check and WebRTC Leak Check show that Ivacy did pull through and protect them from these kinds of leaks.
Recap: What Are The Pros & Cons of Using Ivacy VPN?
If you’re looking for an affordable yet feature-packed VPN, then Ivacy is definitely worth checking out. It offers all the essentials you are looking for in a VPN and more. The tests I performed revealed that it was able to unlock all major streaming platforms, split my local traffic as I saw fit, and secure my large downloads without any hiccups.
With that said, here are the pros and cons of using Ivacy VPN
- There is zero logging of your personal data. This is a huge win, as many VPNs say that they don’t track or log your data, but they do and say they’ll delete it afterward. Of course, there’s no way to verify this, which makes using VPNs risky. Ivacy VPN has a strict zero-logging policy as stated in their fine print.
- You can split your traffic! You can access both local public and private networks, as well as, foreign networks without having to terminate your connection. You can simultaneously route your regular traffic through your IP while browsing US-Based Netflix through Ivacy. This is a super cool and convenient feature.
- It’s insanely affordable. Yes, the monthly rate isn’t anything to sneeze at, BUT it is still less expensive than the heavy hitters on a month-to-month subscription. You get real value when you avail of an annual, or better yet, a 5-year subscription. Having to pay just $1.00/month, $12/year, or $60 upfront for 5-years is an incredible deal.
- 30-Day Money Back Guarantee. Ivacy offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. So, if you’re not satisfied with the service for any reason within your first 30 days, Ivacy will give you a refund.
- Not Much For Mac Users. While you can definitely get Ivacy VPN for Mac, it’s not worth it at this point. The only protocol option you can use on Macs is the IKEv1, which isn’t secure. On top of this, there is no kill switch when using Ivacy on Mac, which means your connection wouldn’t be instantly protected if Ivacy unintentionally disconnects.
Final Impression After Scrutiny of Ivacy VPN:
Ivacy VPN offers great value for its affordable pricing and robust set of features. It is a good option for users who prioritize security and are keen on unblocking popular streaming sites like Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.
Mac users, on the other hand, may want to look elsewhere because of the limited connection protocols available and the lack of a kill switch feature. I don’t know if the company is currently working on improvements in this area, but it will be awesome if they do.
Overall, Ivacy VPN is worth considering as a top VPN choice if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly alternative to the industry’s big hitters, without compromising your online safety in any way.
If you are planning to get started with Ivacy VPN after reading this review, don’t forget their limited-time Black Friday deal.