Jurisdiction: Singapore | Advanced Features: Kill Switch, Split Tunneling, Secure DNS, Secure downloading, Streaming mode, Dedicated IP | Number of Servers and Countries: 3,500 VPN servers in 100+ locations | Streaming and P2P: Yes
Our complete Ivacy VPN review takes a closer look at the good, the bad, and everything else you need to know about this provider.
Ivacy VPN review
In the last few years, VPN servers have transitioned from specialized applications used mainly by businesses to mainstream privacy applications used by individuals and families. In the present-day, many of the largest mainstream ISP’s have started offering subscriptions to different VPN applications as a standard part of their service contracts.
According to data aggregator Crunchbase, Ivacy is headquartered in Singapore and has been in operation since 2007. Ivacy was the first VPN provider to offer a “split-tunnel” feature on all of its subscriptions that allowed users to transmit certain data through their regular ISP while still allowing them to transmit other, more sensitive data through the Ivacy VPN server.
Who Runs Ivacy VPN
Several VPN review sites and tech outlets have criticized Ivacy for being far too secretive about its ownership and management structure. One recent review from pcworld.com points out that other than listing a Singapore address for its main corporate offices, further information about the company is nonexistent.
A deep dive into the company’s website reveals what appears to be a limited command of the English language, and virtually no information about the company’s founders, its top executives, or other employees. A quick trip over to Ivacy’s Linkedin page isn’t much help either. Ivacy claims to have between 500 and 1000 employees, yet only 14 are listed on Ivacy’s Linkedin page.
These fourteen profiles are mostly team leads and upper-level managers with addresses in Pakistan, Romania, and the United Arab Emirates. Profiles for the CEO, CFO, or any other executives are conspicuously absent.
When we tried to exercise due diligence to get a clearer idea of who Ivacy is and what they have to offer in terms of your family’s online privacy, we came away with more questions than answers.
Ivacy VPN appears to use closed-source proprietary software, and exhaustive internet research does not show that Ivacy opens itself to any sort of regular external audit procedures.
Despite our best efforts, we could not locate any data that would provide basic information such as past data breaches, performance on external audits, or inquiries by law enforcement agencies regarding Ivacy VPN users.
Since Ivacy is incorporated in Singapore, this places Ivacy under the restrictions set forth under the Personal Data Protection Act. The Personal Data Protection Act was passed in 2012 by Singapore’s parliament. According to Singapore’s Personal Data Protection Commission, the PDPA was modeled after the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, also known as the GDPA.
Ivacy operates in a country where there are strict regulations regarding the transfer of data between individuals and private companies and between private companies and the national government. If you decide to use Ivacy VPN in your home, you can rest assured that strict privacy laws govern the use or transmission of your data.
Ivacy Requires Very Little Information From Its Users
For new users who are signing up for Ivacy VPN, the only information required is the user’s name, email address, and payment method. A user’s email address is only used:
- In the creation of a new account.
- To transmit your user name and password if you forget them.
- To send promotional or marketing info, users have the option to opt-out of this.
- To respond to user-generated tickets.
It appears that Ivacy does collect some very limited data about user experience and system functionality, such as:
- System outages or crashes.
- Performance analytics.
- Unsuccessful connection attempts.
- User traffic.
- Bandwidth usage analytics.
No Ivacy review would be complete without a detailed breakdown of its various features. But before we get under the hood and examine the features one at a time, let’s get the basic information out of the way. Ivacy encrypts user data with a 256-bit AES that supports several different protocols.
According to its website, Ivacy was named the fastest VPN service in 2019, even though it doesn’t say who gave them the award. A quick look at their server directory shows over 2000 Ivacy servers spread across 100 locations in around 50 countries, so unless you’re traveling to Antarctica, you won’t run short of options if you need to keep your internet connection private. All of its servers can support streaming, all are encrypted, and all support P2P downloads.
All membership levels come with an optional kill switch add-on that automatically takes you offline if you lose your connection with one of Ivacy’s servers while Ivacy VPN is active. Tutorials for Windows and Android are available on Ivacy’s website. We can’t help but notice there’s no tutorial for Mac or IOS.
($1.99 a month, only available in certain locations)
This is an add-on that’s becoming more standard among the various VPN providers. It looks like for an extra $1.99 a month, Ivacy will provide you with a dedicated, static IP address that still conceals your actual IP address. The benefit here is that working or sending an email with your VPN activated becomes much easier.
Ivacy’s dedicated IP is available in seven countries: Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, Germany, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
($1.00 a month)
According to the outlet Privacy News Online, port forwarding is another common feature offered by various VPN providers. Port forwarding allows the user to reroute some or all incoming connections to their home network so that they are allowed to bypass the NAT firewall so that connection speeds are improved.
When one of your devices connects to the internet, your ISP assigns an IP address to the device in question. If your entire family is connecting to the internet simultaneously through several different devices, your ISP assigns a distinct IP address to each one.
These distinct IP addresses are private, but since all of your family’s devices connect to the internet via the same router, your ISP will also assign all of your family’s devices a common shared IP address. So when all of your family’s devices connect to the internet, each one will have a unique private IP address and a common shared IP address that identifies your family’s devices as part of a unique network.
This shared IP address lets any other computer or server on the internet that wants to connect with any of your family’s devices know that all of the devices with a shared IP are communicating with the internet via a home network established by the router. When your ISP communicates with your router, your router keeps your home network safe behind a NAT (Network Address Translation) firewall.
This feature allows the user to transmit some data through their regular internet connection, while at the same time allowing the user to direct other data through a private connection offered by the VPN.
With this feature, Ivacy will scan any downloaded content for malware and viruses. If Ivacy detects malware and viruses, Ivacy will remove them before the content downloads to your device. According to the Ivacy website, the secure downloading feature scans for and removes any malicious content “at the server level.”
IPv6 Leak Protection
Since the transition to IPv4 has been so piecemeal, IPv6 leak protection is a quick way to provide a little extra protection for your data. It works like this: the world is running out of IPv4 addresses, and the transition to IPv6 addresses is happening much more slowly than anyone predicted.
In 2020, all of the major ISPs were assigning newer, more secure IPv6 addresses to most devices. If your IPv6 device connects with another IPv6 device online, everything is secure, and no data is lost.
If your IPv6-capable device connects with an IPv4 device online, your ISP simply reverts to IPv4 to transmit the data from your end. The problem is that once your router reverts to using a less-than-secure IPv4 connection, this leaves your data exposed.
If your computer ends up “leaking” your data because it encountered another device that could only handle an IPv4 connection, the leak protection feature stops your data from being exposed. IPv6 data leaks are not quite the problem they once were, but this is still a necessary feature that Ivacy has available across all of its various subscription packages.
The DNS is important because it ties a given domain name to a given IP address. Recently, hackers and other malicious third parties have found ways to exploit vulnerabilities in the current DNS system by creating false DNS records and tying them to legitimate IP addresses.
The result is that unsuspecting internet users get redirected to fake websites, which then harvest their financial data and personal information. Ivacy offers a Secure DNS feature that prevents hackers and other malicious third parties from replacing legitimate DNS records with fake ones by verifying that the DNS records users come into contact with are legitimate.
Ivacy VPN supports multiple protocols: IKEV, TCP, UDP, and L2TP. You can learn more about VPN protocols following this link.
Ivacy VPN is capable of connecting to a maximum of 5 devices at a time with the same set of login credentials.
Apps and supported platforms
Ivacy VPN supports virtually any platform you might want to protect. Currently, Ivacy VPN is compatible with:
- IOS and other Apple products
- Open-source streaming platform Kodi
- Raspberry Pi
- Most available routers
- Most available smart TV’s
Ivacy’s Knowledge Base Needs Improvement
Suppose you’re in a situation where you would like to venture a little further afield and install Ivacy VPN on your Apple TV or your PS4, good luck. While it appears that Ivacy is compatible with all of these various platforms, trying to figure out how to get Ivacy installed on some of these different platforms is easier said than done.
Browser Extensions For Chrome, Firefox, And Edge
While it appears that native browser extensions are available for Chrome, Edge, and Firefox, from here, the picture gets a lot more confusing.
For Apple products, when you go to Ivacy’s support center, there are two separate icons with the Apple logo, one labeled “IOS,” which presumably appears to cover phones and tablets, and another identical Apple logo that’s simply labeled “Mac” that appears to cover Ivacy installation for Macbooks and iMacs.
Installing Ivacy For OS Or IOS
When you click on either one, you’re taken to an embedded Youtube clip that’s roughly half a minute long and contains no speech, just background music, and a visual demonstration of what to click and where. The clips do the job, but alongside the fact that the Ivacy website is littered with typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors, the entire experience is less than seamless and a little confusing.
As we continue to click through and are guided from one page to another, we still only have the haziest idea of where we are and what we’re doing. Ivacy’s website leads you to believe that you can only download the VPN for IOS or OS from the Ivacy website. Still, when we scroll down to the bottom of the page, there’s a link to Apple’s app store, which says “Download on the App Store,” but when we click on it expecting to be taken to the app store, it simply redirects to the top of the current page.
Installing Ivacy For Android
When we tried to install Ivacy VPN on an Android phone, the results weren’t much better. At the bottom of the page, there’s a link that tells you to click through to be taken to the Google Play Store, where you should be able to download the app. The link doesn’t actually take you anywhere. It just redirects you to the top of the page in the same way that the link to the Apple Store did.
For a company that seems to be determined to prove itself as a legitimate player in a crowded marketplace, Ivacy isn’t doing itself any favors. We did (finally) manage to find the right internal page to install Ivacy on an Android phone, but again was more of the same, a perfunctory Youtube clip and some screenshots of the Google Play Store.
Installing Ivacy For An Amazon Fire Stick Or Fire TV
When we clicked on the link that explained how to install Ivacy on an Amazon Fire Stick or an Amazon Fire TV, the picture got a little bit clearer. We were given clear instructions with clear screenshots.
There was also detailed verbiage covering issues such as logging into Ivacy VPN from these Amazon devices, how to change locations on the Ivacy VPN once it was installed on the Amazon platform, and how to toggle between protocols with Ivacy on Amazon devices.
Installing Ivacy On Linux Systems
When we headed over to Ivacy VPN’s Linux page, we found that while it appeared Ivacy was compatible with a wide variety of Linux formats, including Xubuntu, MX Linux, Kubuntu, and OpenSUSE, the page itself was close to unreadable with no videos or screenshots, just a morass of links and other information with no coherent organization or context.
Installing Ivacy On A Router
In keeping with the hit-or-miss nature of Ivacy’s technical documentation and wider knowledge base, when we clicked on the link that dealt with installing Ivacy VPN on a router, things got a little easier. Ivacy appears to be compatible with most major brands of stand-alone router, including:
- GL iNet
The documentation was clear and concise, with step-by-step instructions and visuals.
Installing Ivacy On A Game Console
If you’re considering Ivacy VPN for gaming, it’s compatible with the following game consoles:
- Xbox One
- Xbox 360
- Xbox Series X
- Xbox Series S
Installing a VPN on a gaming console is always going to be a more involved process. Luckily, this seems to be the area where Ivacy’s developers have given their knowledge base the attention that it deserves.
For Gamers, Ivacy Covers All The Bases
Ivacy’s knowledge base covers all possible scenarios here, providing detailed instructions for whatever set-up method you choose:
- Internet connection sharing for game console users who want to share a VPN connection with a Windows computer.
- Installation for game console users who want to share a VPN connection with a Mac.
- Installation for game console users who want to share a VPN connection with a router.
Gaming security is one area where Ivacy appears to be focusing on a “purpose-centered” approach to carve a niche for itself in the VPN marketplace. Ivacy doesn’t seem to be concerned primarily with security here, so much as pitching itself as the best way to access geo-restricted games and other content.
Ivacy Can Protect Gamers From Bandwidth Throttling and DDos Attacks.
Ivacy is also aggressively pushing its partnership with the European gaming club GamersOrigin, which has teams competing in hundreds of tournaments each year.
Ivacy hasn’t left security entirely out of the equation, pitching itself as the best VPN to not only unlock geo-restricted content but also to avoid bandwidth throttling (i.e., when your ISP deliberately slows your internet speed), as well as to protect against DDOS attacks.
Installing Ivacy On A Blackberry
While Blackberry is a shadow of what it once was, these smartphones have still managed to retain their original popularity in some parts of the world, especially India.
If you’ve still got a Blackberry and are looking for a little extra privacy while you surf the web, Ivacy has you covered. The documentation dealing with the installation of Ivacy on a Blackberry is clear and concise, with clear screenshots and step-by-step instructions.
Installing Ivacy On A Roku
The documentation for installing Ivacy on a Roku appears to be a bit more involved and is similar to the installation process for gaming consoles that we outlined earlier.
You can set up Ivacy to protect your Roku, but you’re going to have to choose between installing Ivacy on a router or installing Ivacy on a PC or a Mac and then following the directions outlined on Ivacy’s knowledge base to make this happen.
Using Ivacy With Kodi
Ivacy VPN is also compatible with the open-source streaming platform Kodi, although the documentation for making Ivacy work effectively with Kodi is poorly written and, in many places, confusing.
While the installation process is going to vary greatly from one platform to another, it looks like getting Ivacy VPN to work with Kodi is the most complex installation process of all the different platforms we’ve covered so far.
Legality Issues With Kodi
According to Ivacy, Kodi is legal, but it’s strongly implied that the open-source platform exists in a grey area. It appears that in order to get any real use out of Kodi in terms of streaming content, users are required to use several different add-ons and plugins that are less than official.
It’s also pretty alarming that Ivacy felt the need to put a graphic in the middle of its Kodi page that reads, “Streaming restricted TV shows and movies can be a punishable offense in your region. Use a VPN to hide your identity and encrypt your web traffic.”
Using Ivacy VPN In China
Ivacy has six servers in China, so using Ivacy VPN in China should be no problem. The important thing to note here is that Ivacy VPN works both ways. It will work if you’re trying to access Chinese content from outside of China, and it will also work if you’re in China and you’re trying to access blocked content from platforms such as Netflix or Hulu.
For this part of our Ivacy VPN review, we’re going to shift gears now that we’ve dealt with all of Ivacy’s features and just focus on the user experience.
Going back to the “purpose-centered” idea we brought up a few minutes ago, it would appear that while many people who are in the market for a VPN server are concerned about their privacy, a number of people are just looking for a quick way to access geo-restricted content.
This could mean Americans traveling overseas who want to access Netflix or Hulu, or it could mean foreigners in the United States or elsewhere who are looking for a way to access content on streaming services in their own countries.
The major streaming services have been wise to the VPN game for a while now, so using a VPN to access foreign streaming content is not quite as easy as it used to be. While Ivacy VPN does its best to provide a good streaming experience, be prepared that temporary issues could appear.
Writing this part of the review was a bit difficult because after exhaustive internet searches, we were unable to find a single credible review that dealt with Ivacy’s gaming capability.
If you head over to Ivacy’s gaming page, then you see that Ivacy chooses to emphasize its partnership with GamersOrigins, its ability to unblock geo-restricted content, and its ability to defend against DDos attacks. Beyond that, there’s not much to go on.
The only content we did manage to find that dealt with Ivacy’s gaming capabilities came from less-than-reputable sites that were poorly written and demonstrated a limited command of the English language.
If you head over to Ivacy’s subscription page, you’ll see that currently, Ivacy is offering three separate subscription plans to prospective customers. There’s no Ivacy free trial, but there’s a one-month trial membership for $9.95, which presumably rolls over to a monthly (auto-renewing) subscription at the same rate at the end of the one-month trial.
Ivacy is also cheap-there’s a seven-day trial plan for 99 cents that rolls over to an annual plan that billing once a year for $47.99, and then there’s a two-year plan that says it costs $2.40 a month, so the math works out to $57.60 every two years.
While prices such as these are comparable to Ivacy’s competitors, the problem here is unclear or inconsistent language. The link to the two-year plan is difficult to understand and forces the customer to do the math on their own.
Finally, while the Ivacy VPN lifetime subscription is no longer being offered, there is a five-year subscription offered for $69.99. Once you’re ready to pull the trigger and buy a subscription, you’ll be given the option of paying with any major credit card, bitcoin, Paypal, and half a dozen other payment apps.
Ivacy VPN For Business
Ivacy promises VPN solutions for teams, packages with multiple dedicated IP’s and quick, scalable server deployment.
Ivacy pitches its various business solutions to creative agencies, law firms, educational institutions, financial institutions, and freelance journalists. The business solutions page also touts Ivacy’s strict no-log policy and Ivacy’s 24/7 customer support.
If you’re looking for an alternative to Ivacy VPN, you have several to choose from. The two alternatives we’ve chosen to focus on for this review are NordVPN and Surfshark.
NordVPN has all of the same features as Ivacy at slightly higher prices. NordVPN has a strict no-log policy, a network of 5400 servers in 59 countries, 24/7 customer support, and native browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
There is simultaneous connectivity for up to 6 devices, and all major protocols are supported. NordVPN can be installed across all the same platforms as Ivacy.
Subscriptions are available at $89 for a two-year plan, $59 for a one-year plan, and a monthly plan that auto-renews at $11.95 per month. There are also glowing reviews at techradar.com and cnet.com.
Surfshark has 1700 servers in 63 countries, and a built-in white-listing capability that allows selected content to bypass its VPN. There is simultaneous connectivity for as many devices as you want, a strict no-log policy, and a private DNS on each server.
Surfshark can be installed across all the same platforms as Ivacy. In terms of pricing, there’s a monthly option for $12.95, a six-month plan for $38.94, and a two-year plan for $59.76. There are positive reviews at techradar.com and cnet.com.
We did find two credible 3rd party Ivacy VPN reviews online, from Techradar and PCMag. Both gave Ivacy fair-to-middling scores, crediting Ivacy for its extensive list of features but criticizing the company for frequent problems with its Windows client, unreliable browser extensions, the sporadic nature of its server network, low speed-test scores, and repeated failures to unblock Netflix, Hulu, and Disney Plus.
Still, Ivacy VPN is a good enough solution for its budget. If you are looking for a feature-rich VPN for cheap, give a chance to Ivacy.