Ivacy in brief:
- P2P allowed: Yup
- Company headquarters: Singapore
- Number of servers: 459 + *
- Number of country locations: 55
- Cost: $ 40 (billed annually)
- VPN protocol: OpenVPN-UDP
- Data encryption: AES-256-GCM
- Data authentication: MS-Chap v2 and TLS
- Handshake Encryption: SHA-II
* Includes virtual server locations
Editor's Note: This review was updated on November 29, 2018 to reflect changes to the Ivacy app. The review score has not changed.
When you look at VPN services for regular users, you do not often see recommendations on goal-based servers, such as "using this server for streaming and downloading." Ivacy VPN, a 10-year service officially based in Singapore, stands out by doing just that. (It is not the only service to take this move – CyberGhost has a similar approach to the purpose – but it is still rare.)
Note: this review is part of ours better VPNs round up. Go there for details on competing products and how we have tested them.
When I first opened Ivacy's app for Windows, I was impressed by its clean-design interface, somewhat reminiscent of HotSpot Shield. Both apps use a theme that is based on various shades of blue and very clean icons and text.
The left-hand drive of the Ivacy app has eight options for navigation. The main VPN options are Smart Connect, Safe download, Streaming, release, is Dedicated IP There are also options to access your account, program settings and a help and support section.
Smart Connect it's just a basic VPN connection. You can choose locations by country or drill down to specific cities within each country. There are 12 cities to choose from for connections in the United States with one or three options for most other countries.
Safe download it's for peer-to-peer downloads and for downloading files and programs in general. This section presents a security option that applies malware scanning at the server level to avoid problematic downloads. I have not had a chance to see how effective this secure download option is.
Streaming allows you to choose the connection by country or for the nicknamed "channel" activity. This last one lists all types of sites and TV channels overseas including Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, in addition to the major networks and tons of content overseas from the CTV network in Canada to RTE in Ireland.
In my tests the function did not work particularly well for Netflix in the United States. It seemed to work with major networks including ABC, CBS and NBC. YouTube Red also worked well, but Netflix's results were mixed. It did not work on servers specifically dedicated to Netflix, but it worked on some of the other US servers I tested.
Finally, we have release, which is a service designed to circumvent corporate and national firewalls that may prevent you from viewing certain content.
One thing to note is that Ivacy uses virtual server locations. This is an uncommon practice in which a server claims to be in a physical position but is actually somewhere else. A spokesman for Ivacy told me that the company has 25 servers spoofing their position.
Features and services
Ivacy for Windows does not have many options to change. You can decide to start Ivacy at Windows startup and you can also automatically connect to the VPN when Ivacy starts up. It also supports IP and DNS leakage protection and an Internet shutdown switch that disables all Internet traffic from the PC when the VPN connection drops.
Ivacy offers apps for Android, iOS, MacOS and Windows. There are also instructions to run Ivacy on Linux, a router, Kodi home theater software, and to connect consoles like the Xbox to the VPN via another device. An Xbox on a VPN is a good option if you happen to play online competitors who love DDoS your connection with your ability to play.
Ivacy also has a "split tunneling" option that allows you to run certain applications through the VPN and others through your normal IP address. The company claims that it was the first to introduce this feature in consumer VPNs in 2010.
Ivacy is priced at $ 40 a year and supports up to five simultaneous connections.
As for the performance, Ivacy has achieved good results, but not great overall speed. Ivacy has maintained around 38 percent of the basic speed on average in five different national connections. The UK connection was particularly good and Japan was surprisingly fast. Germany and the United States were also strong, but Australia was not exceptionally fast.
Privacy, anonymity and trust
Ivacy puts the corporate address for its parent company as PMG Pte. LTD, 38 Beach Road # 29-11 South Beach Tower, Singapore 189767. Once again we have a VPN with an exotic address. There are not many Ivacy employees on LinkedIn, but those that seem to work for the company outside the United Arab Emirates, as well as a person in Singapore. Previously there were also some employees who worked in Pakistan.
It is not uncommon for even small-scale VPN services to employ people in various countries around the world. But Ivacy is another service that prefers to remain secret about who is behind the company. The Ivacy website no longer lists anyone from its management, but at a certain point it listed its CEO as "Mr. Saad."
I asked Ivacy if any of the company's senior management were public about their identity, and the answer was "no". Senior management would prefer to keep the identity secret as others have done, "a company spokesperson said." VPN providers are involved in critical criminal cases that could harm personal safety and security. Therefore, it was rather recommended … to maintain a lower profile in the interest of everyone's safety and continued business operations. "
The only information that Ivacy wants from you is your e-mail address and e-mail addresses are downloaded after 12 months of inactivity.
Ivacy allows payments through a wide variety of methods, including standard credit card and PayPal options. It also offers Bitcoin payments via BitPay, as well as a variety of other cryptocurrencies via CoinPayments.
Overall, Ivacy is a competent service. The fact that a small number of servers does not physically reside in their listed location may disturb some users, while others will not be disturbed.
The price of Ivacy is good at $ 40 a year, the speeds are average, the addition of the security scan for the download service is good and the divided tunneling is a useful service if you want to watch Netflix on Firefox but tunnel the rest of Internet traffic through the VPN.
But readers have long known that I'm not a fan of corporate leadership that prefers to remain in the shadows. This may be necessary in some cases, such as managing a VPN outside of China and Russia while in fact living in those high-risk countries. This could actually be the case here.
However, many VPN services are on top of who they are and, in my opinion, this is always better as private VPNs are a business that depends on user trust.
If the characteristics of Ivacy attract you, this could overcome these problems. But if it bothers you that the company's management is not public about who they are, you'd probably better look elsewhere.
Editor's Note: Because online services are often iterative, acquiring new features and performance improvements over time, this review is subject to change in order to accurately reflect the current status of the service. Any changes to the text or our final review verdict will be noted at the beginning of this article.