The range of features is arguably the strongest point of Ivacy’s service. There are those that are available by default and allow users’ control over when to use them and there are others that can be added to the bill separately, but all are proof that the company doesn’t hesitate on giving its clients what they ask for.
Simple to Use With Plenty of Customization
The first contact that users have with Ivacy is very smooth and easy to understand, which is important to capture their interest right away. Its desktop client fulfils all of the expectations but it is especially worth highlighting its combining of preestablished features with a decent level of customization, which makes Ivacy suitable for both newcomers and the most demanding customers. For instance, the latter will be happy to know that they can choose whether or not they want to use the kill switch, enable IPv6 leak protection or split tunneling, and much more.
This high level of customization is extended to VPN protocols, too, which is great for those that want to control whether they have a faster or safer connection. Useful options like having the VPN start at the computer’s launch or enabling it to automatically reconnect when the kill switch activates – among other things – can all be accessed from a well-elaborated settings page.
Conversely, beginners don’t need to visit this page at all since they can simply resort to using the menu on the left to easily connect to the most appropriate servers for unblocking content from other countries or torrenting files.
On top of these handy customizable features that are built natively into Ivacy’s clients, the company also gives customers the option to add a NAT firewall for $1 extra.
Ivacy has a great selection of servers and locations since there are over 100 locations in more than 50 countries. This translates to 450+ servers with a significant portion of them carefully located in P2P-friendly countries for file sharing fans to make use of. In addition, though the company is not yet one of biggest names in the industry it can still claim to have some pretty rare locations that many other services don’t. Africa is much better represented than elsewhere, for instance, and the presence of countries like China, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Singapore, and many others ensures a worldwide coverage.
However, this inadvertently led to disappointment with Ivacy. It was a shame to see that during our tests many of these unusual locations were unavailable even when changing protocols, which limited the world map to only a handful of atypical destinations on top of the more commonly seen countries. Curiously enough, the IP addresses that were attributed by the servers that did work were always on par with the country chosen, but multiple tests revealed that in fact some are actually shared with another VPN company.
Speed tests produced varying results but none of them could be considered lacking in any way. There is another curiosity with the automatic server selection feature, which selects the best server available for you and since tests were run from Europe it would be fair to assume that it would pick one of the nearest countries. Instead, it was actually Ivacy’s homeland of Singapore claiming the award for fastest connection, which was a nice surprise despite the high ping. The remaining countries that were tested produced predictable results considering the geographical distances to each of them.
The biggest disappointment, however, was finding DNS leaks on all the servers that were tested. Ivacy is not the first VPN to suffer this flaw but it was confirmed by a member of staff that such protection is always enabled by default, and so it’s unfortunate that our test results proved otherwise. This means Ivacy is unable to fully disguise a user’s real location, which is especially bad considering Ivacy’s devoted support of P2P sharing.
When it comes to security there are four protocols to choose from and this will play an important role in the speed and overall security of any given connection. The most common choice will be OpenVPN – on either UDP or TCP – but PPTP, L2TP and IKEv2 are also available. The encryption level, however, cannot be changed – unless using PPTP, which doesn’t apply encryption – and is set at 256-bit, which is still the most popular and reliable today.
Likewise, it’s also important to say that Ivacy is ruled by its no-log policy and because it’s headquartered in Singapore this can be considered trustworthy.
OS, Device Support
Ivacy is one of the best VPN providers for those that want a vast range of supported devices. In terms of operating systems, computers operating on Windows XP and onwards or Macs running El Capitan (10.11) or later are supported with the respective client software, as are Ubuntu, Fedora and other Linux versions. For mobile and other devices, Android and iOS platforms both have their own applications and Blackberry users can also set up Ivacy on their systems via manual set up on DD-WRT routers. This is also the case with smart TVs, gaming consoles and other devices that don’t support VPNs by default, allowing users to eliminate the need for the maximum of five simultaneous connections per account. There are also browser extensions for Firefox and Chrome, and even an app for Kodi.
Ivacy’s pricing structure offers the usual three-plan strategy with very attractive prices and no service restrictions on any of them. The only difference is the subscription period, though at the same time this may even push some customers away.
To explain, the monthly plan costs $8.95, which is a fair and common price for per-month packages, but the next offer shoots up to $36.00 per year. Sure, this is saving 66% on the monthly subscription but Ivacy lacks a plan in between monthly and annual, which would provide even more options for potential customers. The third plan, though, is a two-year subscription and the cheapest of the three, costing the equivalent of an amazing $1.99 per month and billed at $48.00 every two years. Unfortunately, there is no free trial or free version, but the company does include a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of its plans, which at least allows a full month of risk-free testing.
Ivacy also accepts a vast range of payment options, including PayPal, credit cards, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Paymentwall and many more.
A good VPN can be ruined by bad customer service but Ivacy doesn’t slip up too much in this regard. There are multiple ways to contact the team any time or day of the week, with the most direct method being the live chat, which starts automatically when visiting the site. Our interactions with the support came with fast and friendly staff, answering our questions without requiring too much information from us. Next to this is the ticket submission platform, the preferable method if questions are more complex or require further assistance. Social media can be a good alternative, too, since Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages are always updated with relevant news and articles, the details of which can also be found on Ivacy’s blog.
On the downside, most of the FAQ page can’t be relied on. While some of the most basic answers are answered there, many of them date back to 2015 when desktop clients and apps were configured completely differently, and the assistance provided was for different problems.
Ivacy is sort of like balancing on a tightrope with two spinning plates. We can think of one of them as representing the positives: a great VPN for all kinds of customers with easy access to unblocked sites, support for P2P file sharing, useful and customizable features, fast speeds and a whole range of supported devices. All this comes wrapped up in the nice metaphorical paper that is the attractive pricing of all available plans.
On the other plate, though, there are much fewer but perhaps heavier things. The DNS leaks that are supposedly protected against by default are the biggest issue here, which considering the friendliness towards torrenting from Ivacy is simply dangerous. Other than that, it was too bad that many of the rarest server locations were unavailable, which almost makes the number of available countries meaningless. The outdated FAQ section of the website is less important, really, but also fails to provide what is for many the first means of assistance. Ultimately it’s very hard to balance on that tightrope with these major faults weighing the service down.
This doesn’t mean Ivacy should be put aside, not at all. It was still one of the best connections that we have ever had to Singapore and the rest of the working network has a good performance too, which might well be enough for many people.
- Easy to use and suitable for everyone
- Plenty of features with good customization level
- Great device support
- Good speeds
- Attractive pricing
- Good customer support
- Some unavailable servers
- DNS leaks
- No free trial