A user-friendly VPN with a little extra security when it counts
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If you’re online, you have to assume people are watching you.
And while this doesn’t mean that the government is watching your every move or hackers are waiting to take over your bank account specifically, your internet service provider is definitely collecting and selling your personal data to marketers, and the regulatory bodies of various governments are definitely making sure you can’t access certain content online.
With all of these prying eyes, wouldn’t it be nice to have some privacy? Well, you can get that privacy with Ivacy (say that ten times fast).
Ivacy VPN isn’t the biggest name in the game, but they do offer some solid protections that should make them a contender in your search to find the right VPN service for the right price. Before we start unpacking Ivacy VPN, though, let’s take a look at some of their great and not-so-great offerings.
Ivacy’s purchase and setup process couldn’t be easier, but there are a few things to note here. First, there are three different subscription plans. They’ll all get you access to the same service, but you’ll end up paying a little less if you choose a longer-term. Here’s a quick breakdown:
|Subscription Duration||One Month||One Year||2 Years|
|Cost||$9.95||$3.66 per month||$2.45 per month|
Worth noting, going by the website, if you select the two-year plan you’ll receive a free subscription to encrypted cloud-storage provider “Internxt,” but I found out that you’ll get this regardless of which subscription plan you choose. Shhh … don’t tell anyone.
Ivacy is also running a Halloween special right now where you can sign up for five years at $1.33 per month. That’s on par with VyprVPN’s rock bottom prices, but it’s a really long subscription duration. Ivacy does offer a 30-day, money-back guarantee on their plans, but to learn about all of these ins and outs, you should check out my guide to Ivacy VPN’s plans and costs.
Another thing to note: Ivacy is headquartered in Singapore, which means you might have a little trouble — like I did — purchasing the product with your credit card. Some financial institutions flag international online purchases, so if your card gets declined, you might want to check with your bank.
Or if that sounds like too much of a hassle, you can select one of the many, many other ways Ivacy accepts payment. Seriously — there are a ton. Some of which I’ve never even heard of.
So once you’ve selected your services and entered your payment info, you’ll be sent an email with your unique username and password. Download the client you need for your particular platform, enter that information, and you’re ready to start browsing in complete anonymity.
FYI: Ivacy is supported by a huge number of international platforms. It’s available on iOS, Android, and Huawei smartphones and tablets, Windows, Mac and Linux Computers, and Kodi, Amazon, and Android Devices. It’s also available as an extension on Chrome, Firefox, and Edge as well as on Xbox and Playstation consoles.
Once everything is downloaded and set up, you’ll be presented with Ivacy’s dashboard. Pretty simple stuff here.
But don’t let the simplicity fool you. Just like we saw in my review of ExpressVPN, a simple interface doesn’t necessarily mean a dumbed-down service (pssst… ExpressVPN does this better than anyone). Let’s just hope that’s the case with Ivacy VPN, too.
On first startup, all you have to do is push the big power button and you’ll be protected and connected to the fastest available server (well, in theory, anyway).
And at first blush, there’s really not much more to it than that. Once you’re connected, you get a pretty simple message that says “You’re Now Protected.” Your location is “anonymous” and you have the same four checkmarks, assuring you you’re not being logged, your encryption is enabled, your IP is hidden, and you’re browsing securely. Really the only dynamic item on the dashboard is the “connection time” meter which rolls the seconds by.
Now, do you need more than this? Maybe not. Ivacy VPN is nothing if not very easy to use, but I do like dashboards that have a bit more going on.
FYI: You’ll find one of the coolest dashboards ever in my recent review of ProtonVPN. Proton’s dashboard and advanced features go hand-in-hand in one of the best marriages of functionality and user experience I’ve encountered.
Luckily, the conversation about Ivacy doesn’t stop here. There are a few different settings to explore.
So Ivacy does things a little differently in that instead of offering optimizations for file sharing or streaming, they have different “modes” which connect you to server networks specifically designed for different activities. Let’s go through these one by one.
Unfortunately, there’s no real way to test this since I don’t want to purposefully trawl around the internet trying to pick up malware, but other experts were also skeptical of this feature. In my research, I found that most likely, Ivacy is actually just relying on a DNS blacklist to block questionable URLs.
Should you trust it? Eh. There was nothing in my testing that would suggest this feature doesn’t work, but you might be better off just keeping your virus protection up to date and not downloading sketchy things from suspicious sources.
Now, this begs a pretty important question — is this even legal?
The short answer is yes — unless you’re in a country that outright bans VPN use, you’re well within your legal rights to stream content from other countries using a VPN.
That said, doing so likely goes against the terms of service for said streaming platform. Netflix, for example, frowns on the practice. But instead of canceling people’s accounts for accessing geo-restricted media, they simply blacklist known VPN IP addresses, and other streaming platforms are following this lead.
Ultimately this turns into a game of Whac-A-Mole as VPNs use more advanced technology to get around the blacklists. I could go on and on about this, but at the end of the day — no — you’re not going to get in trouble for trying to watch U.S. Netflix on your European vacation this summer.1
FYI: Even countries that have strict internet restrictions and have outlawed VPNs rarely — if ever — prosecute people for their private use. If you want to learn more about this and other VPN facts, check out our VPN explainer guide to get all the information you’ll need to make a smart selection.
So that about wraps it up on Ivacy’s modes. Now let’s talk features.
Unfortunately, if you’re working on a Mac like I am, there’s nothing to talk about here. There’s no changing protocols, or split tunneling, or multiport functionality. What you see is literally what you get. When you open the settings menu, all you’re going to see are startup options.
However, if you are running a Windows machine, Ivacy is a little more customizable. You’ll have your choice of protocols: OpenVPN, IKEV2 and L2TP.
IKEV2 is what you’re going to be using on a Mac. It’s fast, and it’s secure. No worries there. OpenVPN’s more stable UDP and the faster TCP iterations are available only on Windows, as is L2TP, a bit of an outdated protocol, but a well-established one nonetheless.
Also worth pointing out — there’s no kill switch on a Mac, so be careful. If your VPN connection goes down, your browsing habits may be exposed.
FYI: Looking for a VPN with a ton of customizability regardless of platform? Check out my analysis of Private Internet Access VPN. They’re one of the most highly customizable VPNs I’ve encountered while still remaining really user-friendly.
Another feature that is missing from the Mac iteration of Ivacy but present on the Windows configuration is split tunneling. This is something I would have really liked to see, but alas, it wasn’t to be.
Split tunneling allows you to route some traffic through the VPN while allowing other traffic to pass through to your ISP as it normally would. There are all sorts of reasons someone might want to do this, including but not limited, to watching foreign movies while you’re connected to your work network. Not that we condone slacking off at work. No … never.
Finally, we should talk about Ivacy’s encryption. Most VPNs I’ve come across use AES-128 to encrypt your data. This is plenty secure, running your information through 10 rounds of cryptography. However, Ivacy VPN takes this a step further, offering AES-256 encryption, which runs data through 14 rounds.2 I saw this same level of protection when I reviewed VPNSecure, and I think you’ll be impressed with how little it costs. Check out our VPNSecure pricing guide for more information on that.
For context, to brute force a key to decode 256-bit encryption with modern computing power would take billions of years.3 That said, 256-bit encryption takes a little longer, so with this enabled, you might see some noticeable slowdowns in your speeds.
And speaking of speeds, let’s get into Ivacy’s performance.
So two things before we talk about Ivacy’s speed. One — they aren’t the fastest VPN I’ve ever seen, but they aren’t the slowest either. Two — your results might differ. Everyone’s connection to the internet is different, and speeds rely on a number of ever-changing factors.
But in my day-to-day use of Ivacy, I noticed no significant slowdowns, unless I was connecting to servers halfway across the world. Their “smart connect” function — which is supposed to pick the optimal connection for you — worked a lot better than some I’ve seen. It pretty consistently provided the best speeds possible, but let’s take a closer look at that.
Here’s my baseline speed. This is a little slow for me, but maybe AT&T was having a bad day or something.
And here’s how my speeds were looking with Ivacy’s Smart Connect enabled:
As you can see, my download speeds remained about the same, but my upload speeds took a pretty significant hit. I performed this test a few times throughout my trial period and generally got the same results. This isn’t really surprising — you should always expect to see some speed decreases with most VPNs — but it’s still worth pointing out.
FYI: If you’re looking for a VPN that really blazes, check out my review of NordVPN. In my tests, they actually improved my speeds over my ISP, and their massive network of over 5,000 servers worldwide means they have some serious get-up-and-go no matter where you’re connecting from.
So Ivacy’s speeds are fine, but nothing to write home about. What about its security, though? Saying you have 256-bit encryption is all well and good, but it doesn’t matter if the VPN isn’t functioning properly.
Great news here. In my tests, Ivacy VPN showed no signs of security flaws, and in my research, none of my colleagues were complaining that they were able to poke holes in the hull.
I’m still going to gripe that there’s no kill switch on the Mac version of Ivacy, but overall I have to say this is a really secure service — especially with that 265-bit encryption. Well done on this front, Ivacy.
So that about covers the ins and outs of Ivacy VPN — the great, the good, and the not so good. So what’s the final word here? How does Ivacy VPN stack up against its competitors?
So on paper, Ivacy is pretty good. It’s got the performance you’re looking for, the security you need, and the features you want (as long as you’re on a Windows computer, grumble grumble).
Where Ivacy stands out, ultimately, is its affordability and its heightened security. Not too many VPNs on the market offer 256-bit encryption for less than the cost of a cup of gas station coffee.
Where I think Ivacy falls a little short, though, is in their somewhat sloppy execution. It’s difficult to put a finger on it, but the feel of the desktop client is just amateurish. It seems like the senior project of a computer science undergrad. They probably got an “A” on the project, but there are much more polished and professional options out there.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if this service is right for you. Before making that decision, though, I encourage you to look at our list of the 10 best VPNs on the market today. That’ll help you get your bearings and understand what the key players are bringing to the table.
Ivacy offers four different subscription tiers, and all of them are reasonable. One month of service will cost $9.95. A year costs $3.66 per month, and two years costs $2.45 per month. Five years of service will run $1.33 per month.
Ivacy’s server network is substantial, and their speeds are more than adequate for most folks.
Yes, Ivacy can be used to unlock a number of streaming platforms, including Netflix.
While Ivacy does not have specific optimizations for P2P file sharing, it is allowed on all of their servers.
Frost, Oscar. (2020, Oct 30). Is It Illegal to Stream on Netflix with a VPN? Legal Reader.
N-Able. (2019, July 29). Understanding AES 256 Encryption.
AT&T. (2019). The ultimate guide to VPN encryption, protocols, and ciphers.
With a decade of experience as a journalist, Derek Prall has been covering cybersecurity for seven years. He has spent more than 1,000 hours researching digital privacy and has covered almost 100 topics related to VPN and identity theft protection. Previously, Derek has covered tech issues at American City & County magazine, where he won numerous national awards for his cybersecurity coverage. His areas of expertise included network security, big data analytics, and AI applications in public safety. Derek graduated with dual bachelor’s degrees in English and Communications from Furman University and now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with his wife and two cats.