IVPN Review

Pros:

Official IVPN Logo


  • IVPN emphasizes providing high
    data security and doesn’t keep any personally identifiable information except
    the email address which you provide while creating the account. One does not
    require providing an email address by which his identity can be exposed.
  • Talking about anonymity, you
    can purchase IVPN by cash or cryptocurrency. This
    saves one from adding any transaction details.
  • They provide “Multi-hop”
    feature which lets the users’ data to travel through two servers (one after
    another), which adds an extra layer of security. In this feature, one can select both the servers of his
    own choice.
  • As privacy is the main concern of the user, the company makes sure
    that no data leakage through DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 takes place. However, these
    are built-in features, and one can’t check or uncheck them through the user interface.
  • There are general user
    interface options present such as startup options which aids to have a better
    user experience.
  • It feels like you aren’t connected with the VPN by looking at the
    amazing speed they provide. Even after encrypting the data, both download and upload speed don’t decrease significantly.
  • Even if they don’t provide any
    other protocol instead of OpenVPN in their clients, one can switch between TCP
    and UDP option. There are total six ports available which you can change if the
    connection isn’t stable.
  • Availability of “Obfsproxy” lets the users’ data get mixed with
    the standard internet data which makes it tough for the government, ISP or any
    third-party fails to detect the use of the VPN.
  • SOCKS5 key is also available
    which provides an additional layer of authentication.
  • One can connect with an unlimited number of devices from one account.
    However, simultaneously, only five connections are allowed.
  • A three-day free-trial is also
    available. One just needs to add his payment details while creating the account.
    If you delete the account before the trial
    period, no amount will be deducted.
  • According to their refund
    policy, they provide seven-days money-back guarantee without any questions
    asked.
  • They do not place any bandwidth
    limit on your data passing through their server.
  • They own DNS servers which save the user’s data from any third-party
    involvement.

Cons:

  • In the case of VPN services, the location is a considerable issue because of “Fourteen Eyes” surveillance program. The IVPN’s parent company is headquartered in Gibraltar which is one of the British Overseas Territories. Even though they are located outside the United Kingdom, and have their judiciary system, some control of UK could be anticipated.
  • They don’t have separate server lists for P2P and Streaming server, and one has to manually go through all the servers to find the suitable server. They need to improve the server sorting options to make the client “easy to use.”
  • Price could be an issue! If one wishes to buy one month’s plan, he needs to pay $15 which is one of the most expensive deals in comparison with other VPN providers.

Overview

Main Screen of the UI

The first factor that comes in our mind
whenever we search for a product is that it should fulfill all our requirements but within budget. IVPN has many features
but paying $15 per month for a VPN application could be a tough call.

Gibraltar is located at the Southernmost part
of Spain, away from the “Fourteen
Eyes.” It is where the company Privatus
Limited, which owns IVPN is headquartered.
Though it is away from the Eyes, the United Kingdom may exercise its power
upon the country because Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory.

This may raise concern about privacy,
but if the company conducts serious
attempts, complete security from the
government and security agencies could be achieved.

Here, all we can do is to help you find the conclusion that – is the product a perfect fit for you or not by studying all its
different features. As they have emphasized on no logging and high security of
the data, it is important to discuss that
they have achieved the target of providing complete data security or not.

Analysis of the user interface and the availability of features will provide you with information about the advantages and
limitations of the client. Also, good
customer support is the tool which delivers satisfaction to the user. Let’s see
if IVPN could offer us the complete satisfaction and instant help or not.

Servers

List of Servers

We have reviewed many products which have
more than a thousand servers. The reason why any
VPN provider implements so many servers is to deliver high speed.

However, IVPN just works with thirty-five plus server locations.

We will see how it affects the speed in the
speed section. Let’s have a look at the
locations where the servers are placed.

The company has targeted the United States
as the prime consumer. They have more
than ten server locations in just this one country. From the image, you can
see that these servers are placed smartly covering all the major cities of the
United States. The interesting fact is such placement of the server ensures a
uniform distribution of servers. That’s the reason one can guarantee equivalent
speed in all the parts of the country.

The similar scenario could be observed for
Europe also.

They have distributed servers all over Europe in such a
way that it has covered all the major countries and confirming uniform
server density.

From the Northernmost
country: Iceland to the Server location
in Spain and Italy, IVPN has utilized the server positioning in the correct way.

In continents other than North America and
Europe, they are having only four servers: Three in Asia and one in Oceania.
However, these servers are also placed smartly,
and according to the user base they have
in these continents.

When it comes to the selection of a server, a
user can select the server in two ways: Single-hop or Multi-hop. The multi-hop feature is exclusive and is not
available in most of the VPN providers even if they are well established.

IVPN’s Multi-hop features allow the user to create a path which consists
of two servers instead of one. This
provides an extra layer of security which single server may not deliver. In this
case, if someone gets the access to the server location, he won’t be able to
identify anyone’s IP as the data will arrive from the server and not from the
user’s system.

When you open
IVPN’s main window, the option to select the server appears below the connect
button.

One can directly click the connect button
which will connect the system to the fastest server which is generally the
closest one. By doing that, one is expected to experience the highest possible
speed that IVPN servers could deliver.

If you do not wish to connect with the
fastest server, you can manually select the server by going through the server
list present below the server selection
option. The list contains all the server locations provided by the service.

If you wish to connect with Multi-hop,
select the Multi-hop option which lets you select two different servers of your
choice. However, it is recommended to select the default servers because
probably they will deliver you the fastest speed.

However, if you wish to select the server
location manually, you need to select the “Server 1” and then the “Server 2.”
Your data will travel to Server 1 first, and before reaching to the destination
server, it will pass through the Server 2. That helps to avoid
man-in-the-middle attack which may occur while the data is in transition.

You should select the servers smartly. Otherwise, it won’t be of any use because you
will lose speed even if you are gaining security. If one selects two servers
which are geographically close to each other, the highest possible speed
through IVPN’s Multi-hop will be attained.
But if one selects two servers, for instance, one from Australia and another
from Iceland, then maybe the speed obtained will not be suitable even for
browsing purpose.

There are many other VPN providers such as NordVPN which provides the
Multi-hop option, perhaps with a different name (DoubleVPN). What makes IVPN
different from other providers is the possibility of creating a huge number of Multi-hop combinations. In other
cases, it was limited to the pre-defined
combinations, but when it comes to IVPN,
you can select any of the servers from
the complete list without any restriction.

Here the server one is called the entry
server, and the server two is called the exit server. If you check your IP
address, it will be of the exit server, and
there will be no clue that your data has even traveled
through the entry server. This
efficiently safeguards the data, but
somewhat reduction in the speed is
predictable.

We must let you know that IVPN does not
have server locations in Africa and South America at present. Because of this, the speed may not be that high for the
users of these continents.

Protocol, Proxy Settings and Adding OpenVPN Parameters

Connection Settings for Port/Protocols

IVPN only provides the OpenVPN protocol,
but with six different port options: three ports associated with UDP and three
with TCP. Availability of different ports provides the option to change it if a
stable connection is not achieved. By
changing the ports, speed may also vary. One is advised only to change it when
you are unable to have a reliable connection. You can select the option to
automatically connect with a different port if the connection error occurs.

It would be better if other protocols were added to the client such as SSTP or IKEv2.
These protocols are the best replacements if the OpenVPN protocol doesn’t
function well. The WireGuard protocol is also
provided, but for that, you need to create an additional free
account. WireGuard is still in the development phase, and they advise only to use it for testing purpose.

There is the option of using Obfsproxy which helps to hide the use of VPN client.
This is helpful when someone uses the VPN
product where the use of VPN is banned such as in China. It will mix the users’
internet traffic with the standard internet traffic making it nearly impossible
for the authorities to detect the encrypted data.

If you are not selecting Obfsproxy, then you have the option of
selecting the network proxy: HTTPS or SOCKS. However, they must add the
upgraded version also. As the SOCKS5 proxy adds an
additional authentication, it is always recommended to use it for the network
packet exchange done between the client
and the server.

OpenVPN Account Config

For a better connection, you can add
additional parameters under the last tab of the client which is “OpenVPN
additional configuration parameter.” However, one should only add any
parameters in this dialog box if he has the
knowledge about the protocol. If any wrong parameter is added, it may cause malfunctioning of the
system and network issues. This feature is only for the people who wish to
implement their knowledge for better connectivity. If any malfunction occurs,
IVPN should not be held reliable as they
have already provided warning under the tab. However, it’s a great addition
that lets the user govern the application.

Firewall Options

Various Firewall Options

IVPN Firewall acts as the “Kill Switch”
option provided by other VPN providers. Here, you can choose that when you wish
to use the Firewall, and when you don’t want it. “On Demand” option lets you
turn it on while one connects and disconnects with the internet. It blocks all
the internet traffic at that time.

You have the option of disabling it after
exiting the client. If you do not check to
mark the deactivation option, you won’t be able to access the internet after that. For accessing the internet again, you will need to open the
client. That’s messy, and one should turn
OFF the firewall before he logs out.

Other firewall options present deliver you
the choice of the data that you wish to allow even after the firewall is ON.
One can check mark to allow the LAN data even after getting connected with the
firewall. Also, you can select the option of permitting multicast data when the
LAN data is allowed. That provides the flexibility to the user to change the
behavior of the IVPN’s Firewall.

Whenever you connect or disconnect with the
internet or whenever the firewall blocks the traffic, it shows the notification
for the user’s knowledge. However, if you wish not to see the notification,
IVPN’s application has provided you this flexibility. However, we don’t
recommend turning OFF the notifications as they render information that when
the internet data is blocked, and when
the internet is working.

Network Options

Network Options

It all depends upon the user to find if a
network is trustworthy or not. For a specific network, the VPN and Firewall
would not be required, but for other networks such as public Wi-Fi,
one needs to use them for sure.

In IVPN, you have the option to decide
whether you wish to trust a network or not. You can simply add the known networks in the list of trusted networks and
take actions according to that.

You have the option of conducting different action for the trusted and untrusted
networks: you can choose to disable the firewall,
VPN, or both for a trusted network, and in the
similar way you can turn both, one or none of them for the untrusted
network.

Again, a feature delivering better user
control.

Diagnostics

Connection Problem Dignostics

Diagnostics feature has a sole purpose: the betterment
of the application so that even the user
experience could be improved.

You have the option of turning ON the logs
anytime. However, it only logs the information related to client activity and
network connection. These logs are stored in the local drive of your system,
and not on their servers. However, you can send these logs whenever you have
any connection problem by clicking on “Submit Logs” button. This helps them to check for the issue, and if there is any bug, they can use the
information for removing it, delivering you a better client.

This feature aids to the user experience as if one submits logs, errors are
removed accordingly, and that helps to
decrease the network related issues that one may
have while using the application.

Connection Time Analysis

Trial No.Single-hopMulti-hop
Average Time in Seconds8.359.88
Time taken to establish a connection (in seconds)
17.6210.32
28.068.96
38.069.23
410.368.68
58.9717.24
68.267.89
77.929.7
88.087.99
98.538.36
107.9410.43

The connection time for IVPN has a range of
2.74 seconds which shows a high precision by which one can predict that in how
much time the connection will get established.

With an average of 8.35 seconds, IVPN
delivers very fast connectivity if not instant connectivity. It is higher in
comparison of many other VPN providers which take more than ten seconds, and
sometimes even thirty seconds.

There are a few VPN providers which deliver
such connection time or less than that. However, it’s nice if any VPN client gets
connected before ten seconds. Also, the precision confirms that the VPN
provider offers a reliable connection. Note that the analysis which was explained until
now was for Single-hop.

Now, let’s find out what hopes, Multi-hop
has brought to us.

It is obvious that Multi-hop will require
some more time to establish the connection in the comparison of Single-hop as
in this case, the connection is required to be
established with one more server. In one case, the connection time went
up to seventeen seconds which could be because of several reasons. However, it
is acceptable as it happened just for one case out of ten iterations.

The average is of 9.88, and if we remove this one case, it will go down
to 9.06 which is justified if we compare it will Single-hop connection.

Bandwidth and Speed

Speed Before and After Connection

That was completely unexpected!

Such a tremendous speed with less than a
hundred servers could not be possible without high-grade hardware and
high-level maintenance.

The closest server is located two thousand kilometers away, and still, no significant
decrement in the speed was experienced.

Before connection,
we experienced a download and upload speed of 9.84 Mbps and 8.05 Mbps
respectively. After connection, download, and
upload speed just decreased to 9.31 (5% reduction) and 7.30 (9% reduction)
respectively.

Even the best VPN providers having
thousands of server locations are unable to provide such a great speed.

Privatus has established optimized servers
which efficiently balance load because of which speed doesn’t get much
affected. Also, a limited number of subscribers are allowed to establish a connection with a particular server. They
maintain a good user-server ratio which doesn’t cause overloading, and so every
user encounter with very less reduction.

For Multi-hop the case is different. The
reduction is high, but still, justified.

For the original speed that is already mentioned, the download and upload
speed which we received after connecting with Multi-hop are 4.95 Mbps and 1.94 Mbps respectively. It’s true that reduction
is very high, and that concludes that one must only use Multi-hop if high
security is required.

The reason behind this increment is the
travel that the data needs to do from one
server to another. It is nearly impossible to get speed equivalent to the
original speed after connecting with the Multi-hop.

The servers which we had selected for
establishing Multi-hop connection were the servers which were geographically
closest to us.

However, the number of servers around us is
lesser in comparison to that of North America or Europe. If a European user
connects with the Multi-hop; let’s say, a
user from Germany connects with two servers, one server would be of Germany,
and another of any neighboring country. Because the servers are established at a closer distance in
comparison to our location, the user will experience better speed for Multi-hop
also.

However, for Single-hop, one doesn’t need to be much concerned about the speed. It’s
great and better than most of the other
VPN providers.

For bandwidth, there is no limit, and one
can utilize IVPN for encrypting unlimited data.

Security

For complete
security, not just the software, but the privacy policy that the company
produces should also be strong, and in favor of the customer.

If we go through the software safeguarding
capabilities of IVPN, one must know that
they provide military-grade encryption adopted by NSA as Advanced Encryption
standard. It comes with three different key lengths, and IVPN uses the longest
key which is of 256 bits. RSA is used for
secure data transmission, and in IVPN’s
case, it has a length of 4096 bits.

Even after several rounds of encryption,
data leakage is possible through DNS requests. Many of the providers use public
DNS servers which stores data. However, IVPN has own DNS server with the
address: 10.0.254.1 which you can use when you connect with VPN through IVPN’s
client. This safeguards the DNS requests from leakage.

It also has a built-in firewall option that
is visible on the main-screen. That helps
to protect unknown DNS requests sent by
servers other than IVPN’s servers.

However, some information is kept by the central
authentication server while you are connected
with the VPN through IVPN’s client. It will keep a record of online users and
delete it when the user logs out from the client. This may produce concern in the user’s mind. However, it is done
only to identify how many devices are connected
with the VPN simultaneously. It doesn’t harm the
no log policy.

According to their strict no log policy,
the only data that they store is the email account that you provide them while
registering for the account. Apart from that, no other PII is stored. One can provide an email which doesn’t have any relation to the actual identity, and that’s how he can remain anonymous.

User Interface and Experience

The desktop client has two windows: one
which is the main window, and another one which is the settings window.

This helps the user to explore the client easily by keeping the main
screen ON. The settings window is divided
under seven different tabs, each serving a different purpose, and that helps a
lot to identify the required settings.

General Settings for Connections

The General
Settings
are provided so that the
user can have better control over the application, especially when the connectivity is concerned. With the help of
general settings, you can choose when you wish to connect with the VPN, i.e., on startup, when connecting with an
untrusted network, while logging in or only when the client window is open.
That benefits the user by avoiding establishing an
unnecessary VPN connection.

Account Credentials

The Account
tab doesn’t contain any information, but only the username, and the link to the
client area. For changing the password, one can directly visit the client area
by clicking this link. However, it will redirect you to the login page. This page wasn’t
required, but yeah, an extra tab makes the client look better.

The “Connection
settings” consists of protocol and
proxy settings. Availability of different ports helps to establish a reliable
connection which directly aids to the user
experience.

For delivering a safer user experience,
features such as IVPN Firewall and the Network
options
are present which doesn’t let any unwanted data packet to enter in
the system.

Apart from this, some more server sorting
options are required such as P2P server list. They also offer the option to
connect with the fastest server from a specific country. That would let the
user to watch the content of that country with better speed.

User experience also depends upon the speed
which the IVPN has delivered the best. One can guarantee complete satisfaction when it comes to speed.
However, at some point, one needs to rely
on customer support whenever any malfunction or client related issue occurs. In
that case, user satisfaction depends on the availability of the customer
executive so, it can’t be concluded 100% reliable.

Platforms and Devices

A limited number of platforms are available,
but all the major ones are covered.

They are equally directed towards Windows
and MacOS users, as the clients are almost similar with very few differences.
Same is the case with Android and iOS users, the
client does not have much difference if
anyone compares them. That makes sure that if you are looking for purchasing
IVPN for these four devices, the client
will remain similar for all of them.

Other than these platforms, you can
download the setup for Linux, Routers, and NAS.

For Linux, you can choose among the three
different setups according to the protocol.: OpenVPN, IKEv2, and WireGuard. OpenVPN protocol is considered
the best one as it renders high security followed by IKEv2. WireGuard is still
in the development phase, and we only recommend it for testing purpose.
You can find the installation steps in the Guide section on their website.

Live Chat Support

If you want, you can purchase IVPN
pre-configured router, Vilfo, and then
all you need to do is to enter the username and password that you used for the other
clients. If you do not want to pay extra bucks for the pre-configured router, then you
can install IVPN in DD-WRT, Tomato, and
PFSENCE routers. Again, the configuration steps are
provided in the guide section.

For your NAS system, if you need high
security, you can install IVPN in that too. Three different setups are
available: Synology v.5.1, Synology v.6.1, and
QNAP.

As we can see in total, clients and setups are provided for seven different platforms, but
this could be increased to gaming
consoles and smart TVs. Also, they can add extensions for mainstream browsers
such as Chrome and Firefox, so that users can directly take the benefit of the VPN
in their respective browsing experience.

Customer Support

Customer Support on Live Chat Sometime Not Available so its not 24×7

Like every other VPN provider, they also
have four different ways by which a customer can get help. However, people
always prefer live chat as it provides instant replies that help the customer to solve the issues easily,
efficiently, and as soon as possible.

IVPN provides a live chat where you can
expect instant as well as relevant replies. Most of the time, they don’t prefer
writing long replies, and instead of that, they direct the users to various links
available on their website which easily provides an answer to the issue.
Sometimes, it may not be helpful, but in
that case, you can contact the support at the same time.

However, the only disappointment but an
acceptable one is the unavailability of
the live chat for 24/7. They claim that they provide 24/7 live chat support but, in our
case, live chat wasn’t active all the time. It was
stated in the live chat box that “we are not online right now.” And asked us to leave the message, and email, so that
they can contact us back. That is something similar to the “ticket
generation.” If it happens with the user many times that he finds the live chat
unavailable, then it means that live chat option doesn’t fulfill its purpose
completely. This is something that could
be improved easily by increasing the number of customer executives.

Other than live chat, if you visit the help
center, you will find two different sections: Guides and FAQs.

Guides are
further divided into two subsections: Privacy Guides and Setup Guides.
Privacy Guides again have three subsections
which deliver information about basics, anonymity, Tor, OPSEC, and some more
miscellaneous articles. The Setup Guide
section only provides information about the installation process of different
clients for different platforms.

FAQ section has less than fifty
question-answers, and improvement in this
will be appreciated. There are many other frequently asked questions which can
be added such as questions related to protocols. This may help the user to solve the issues and get the required
information without even contacting the company. This is beneficial for the VPN provider also.

Conclusion

In the end, only one word could be the synonym of IVPN: Speed!

Such ultra-high speed was never experienced
by us while reviewing any other VPN Provider. However, Astrill VPN gives a tough competition, but
only for some specific protocols. Other than that, IVPN has astonished us by
delivering such a high speed with these
very few servers. That even explains that the quality
of servers is more important than the quantity.

The user interface
and the number of platforms that the provider supports are also satisfactory,
and one doesn’t need to be concerned about it. The only
area for improvement is the customer support: the live chat and FAQs.

Also, if you wish to pay monthly for this
VPN provider $15 will be deducted from your pocket, and yes, that’s a very high
price. If the same provider would be available at a price of $11 or less,
purchasing it won’t require putting a second thought.

Although it has a price of $15, it could be a value for money product if
only speed matters to the user. Adding some more features will also help the
buyer to have some more control and functionality. In short, this is a promising
product which renders high speed, and
simple user interface as its prime attributes.

Kim Martin Administrator
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