I decided I wanted to get a VPN service that I could use to protect my privacy and security on the internet. This isn’t so much an issue at home as it is on public wi-fi, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to protect my privacy at home, too. These initial uses led me to a few requirements.
- It had to be fast with unlimited bandwidth.
- It had to protect privacy.
- It had to be cost-effective.
After much research, I decided to give IVPN a try. Below are my findings during several days of real-world testing.
Disclaimer: I chose IVPN based on personal research and my belief that it is a top quality VPN service. I do, in fact, use their service personally.
That said, some links on this page are for IVPN’s affiliate program, which gives me a commission if you sign up through my affiliate link. This is merely an effort to help pay for my blog’s web hosting, not an indication that my recommendation of IVPN is based on an ability to make commission.
Affiliate Links Update: IVPN no longer offers their affiliate program, but I am leaving this review intact because I still think they offer a good VPN service.
If you find this information helpful and do choose to sign up for IVPN, I would much appreciate you using my referral link.
Speed is self-explanatory. If I’m going to use a VPN, I don’t want to sacrifice much performance for it. IVPN is fast. I tried some other services that clearly slowed me down. IVPN barely makes a difference. I ran speed tests online and downloaded some files, all the while seeming to max out my 25mbps cable connection. My file download speed maxes out around 3.4 MB/s on IVPN, which I believe is about the same as without VPN. I also wanted unlimited bandwidth, because who wants to track their usage or worry about overages?
Privacy is a complex topic with multiple aspects. From my research, I found the main concerns with privacy are as follows.
- VPN server logs – do they log anything about their users?
- VPN service jurisdiction – where are they located and what is the legal landscape?
- Anonymous payment method – Do they accept anonymous payment (primarily bitcoin)?
- Sign-up information – What information is required to sign up for the service?
IVPN states they only log internal IP address and account usernames for 10 minutes. In my opinion, internal IP address is no cause for concern, and IVPN’s other privacy measures can ensure that the account number is not linked to you.
IVPN is based out of Malta, which should afford some protection for those wishing to prevent government-forced privacy-invasion. IVPN also states that they would move the service to another country before compromising users’ privacy.
IVPN accepts PayPal and bitcoin. In theory, bitcoin payments are anonymous. IVPN’s bitcoin payment processor generates a unique, time-limited payment address for each invoice, which should help separate the payment from the VPN account.
IVPN only asks for an email address to sign up. They allow use of an anonymous email address. If you use a temporary email address, consider using one that you can access in the future because password reset requests will be sent to your email address.
TorrentFreak has a good article on anonymous VPN services for more information.
Paid VPN services range from $3 per month up to $20 per month or higher. IVPN is not the cheapest VPN provider out there, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. You want a service that is financially stable and doesn’t compromise performance or security to make ends meet with their finances. Budget services will likely provide budget performance and security. Some other VPNs also bundle their service with another service or use it as an add-on. I wanted a service that was focused and dedicated to quality VPN service at a reasonable price.
IVPN has multiple plan options with discounts scaling nicely for longer terms of service. By far their best value is the yearly service at $100/yr, which breaks down to only $8.33/mo if you don’t mind paying up front. I started with their monthly plan and requested to be changed to a longer term for my next invoice, which they quickly accomodated. IVPN also has a 7 day money back guarantee.
IVPN supports the EFF which should indicate a commitment to privacy. They claim to be first and foremost a privacy service, focused on security, built from the ground up by experienced security professionals.
IVPN allows up to three connections, which is useful for mobile devices away from the home network. I had no problem setting up OpenVPN on Android and experienced great speeds and connection reliability.
My experience with IVPN so far has been that it is a well-designed and solid functioning service at a reasonable price. I highly recommend them to anyone looking for a premium VPN service.