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Subscription plans are very competitively priced
Extensive device support
Unlimited bandwidth and data allowance
Competent security measures
Works seamlessly with Netflix
Not always easy to find the right server for torrenting
Limited options for advanced users
Occasionally unreliable service
Ivacy is an inexpensive VPN, but its slow speeds and occasional connection drops makes it feel less like a bargain.
Based in Singapore, Ivacy might not be a household name in the VPN world, but it's well established, having been available since 2007 and offering over 1,000 servers in over 100 locations. Impressively, the firm was a pioneer in split-tunneling – something that many other more well-known VPN service providers have taken advantage of.
Keen to see if Ivacy is a hidden gem in the VPN field, we conducted many tests to see what speeds it offers, how easy it is to use, and how well it performs with streaming services such as Netflix. We also evaluated how secure it is, and how fast it is for torrenting purposes. We found it wasn't entirely reliable at times, but for a budget-priced VPN, there are certainly some strong positives in there, too. Read on to see what else we thought about the service.
Ivacy has a fairly simple-to-use app, although it can seem confusing at first. Load it up and log in, and you're presented with a series of options from a sidebar. Initially, this is where the confusion sets in. Options include Smart Connect, Secure Download, Streaming, and Unblocking. In many ways, these all sound like synonyms but they make a difference to what you can access.
The idea behind it is that Smart Connect is your all-purpose connection, Secure Download is if you want advanced virus and malware protection, while Streaming covers all the streaming services imaginable. Unblocking is a more vague term that we found most suitable for some very specific scenarios that we'll talk about later.
Despite those initial complications, Ivacy is easy enough because it skips complex details like server names. Instead, you choose the country you want to connect to via a drop-down list (alternatively, you can pick a specific city) and Ivacy does the rest. Once connected, there's a timer demonstrating how long you've been connected, and that's about it. Don't expect statistics such as download speeds or average pings. Ivacy keeps it super simple, right down to not even being able to tweak more advanced settings from the app. You can't even choose a favorite server for future reference.
The signup process for Ivacy is easy. Click the Get Started button on the site, and you're taken to a choice of subscription plans before picking an app to download. Ivacy doesn't pick up on what system you're using so you must pick out the relevant app for your system (i.e. Windows or Mac) but the list is clearly laid out so it's simple to browse through.
Log in on the newly installed app and you're good to go.
Ivacy offers apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS users, with extensions also available for Chrome and Firefox. Additionally, there are extensive instructions on how to configure Ivacy on devices including Linux based systems, smart TVs, routers, games consoles, Kodi boxes, and even Blackberry phones.
The instructions require some technical knowledge, but it's reasonably straightforward if you know your way around the respective device. It's good to see such extensive support too, given few VPN services seem to mention games consoles so overtly, for instance.
Ivacy offers several different servers to choose from, as well as different settings such as whether you're downloading files or simply browsing. In all cases though, we found speeds to be roughly the same – ideal for browsing but distinctly sluggish when downloading files.
General browsing is fine, but anything that requires a speedy download or two, and Ivacy will begin to irritate.
During our speed tests, we found our usual 100MB connection was halved to about 50MB, sometimes dipping to 45MB. If you're simply browsing websites, this is barely noticeable as most sites don't require a fast connection to load their content. However, when downloading files, there was a noticeable dip in speed quality. That was pronounced both during off-peak use and during peak times of day, too. Occasionally, the connection would also drop or seemingly just not connect at first, although at least there's an automatic kill switch ready to take up the slack.
Low speeds are, fortunately, less of an issue when streaming content such as watching videos on YouTube. Here, speed seemed just fine. Essentially, how suitable Ivacy's performance is mostly depends on what you're using a VPN service for. General browsing is fine, but anything that requires a speedy download or two, and Ivacy will begin to irritate.
Make the mistake of loading Netflix while connected to Ivacy via Smart Connect or Secure Download, and you won't get very far. Netflix immediately notices you're using a VPN and stops you from streaming.
However, switch back to the Ivacy app and choose Streaming, and suddenly the world is your oyster. Here, you can simply choose the streaming service you want to watch from a somewhat awkwardly designed box on the app, and Ivacy immediately connects and opens up the relevant browser window for the service. It works flawlessly and for a number of different services.
We tested it extensively on Netflix and had no issues watching numerous shows and movies on the service. It also works well with HBO Now, Hulu, BBC, Amazon Prime US, ABC, Fox Sports Go, as well as RTE, France TV, and many others. In all, 63 different streaming services are catered for here. Obviously, some require subscription plans to use them, but it's very convenient to have a VPN that just works for so many services with minimal hassle.
Ivacy is very open about exactly what it stores (or indeed, what it doesn't store) which is good to see. The company also points out that due to its no-logs policy, it has no information to provide to authorities even if they request it.
It states that it "strictly" doesn't log or monitor any user's activity, from what they're browsing to connection times or IPs assigned.
Ivacy offers quite extensive security features that keep in line with other VPN services of this kind. For the most part, it's exactly what many users need when looking for a VPN client.
Its features include:
Remember the mention of a Secure Download part of the Ivacy app? Logic would dictate that's what you use to download torrent files, but we didn't find that to be the case. Instead, that setting blocked all trackers for the files we were downloading, so we switched over to Unblocking and it worked just fine. That's a slightly weird way of doing things given the app so clearly labels one part of itself as dedicated to downloads, but at least torrenting does work somewhere.
Speeds are reasonable if unexceptional. Much like the speed tests we conducted, don't expect to max out your connection here. However, it was pretty stable and we really appreciated the Kill Switch that meant we didn't have to worry about the VPN connection dropping unexpectedly. Get past the weird UI related issues, and torrenting is just fine with Ivacy.
Ivacy is reasonably priced if you opt for the rolling monthly subscription plan, but it gets even better if you commit to a year or more at a time. For $9.95 per month, you can enjoy the service on a rolling basis.
Alternatively, for $40 per year (the equivalent of $3.33 per month), you can commit to a year or $54 buys you two years of Ivacy for the equivalent of $2.25 per month. There are even offers on five-year plans for the equivalent of $1.33 per month making it one of the cheapest VPN services out there. It's hard to find a VPN service that's so well priced.
Payment options include all the major hitters such as card, Paypal, BitPay, Alipay, Bitcoin, PerfectMoney, and Paymentwall. There's no gift card option or cash payment, but other than that, Ivacy is comprehensive.
Similarly priced in the VPN field is one of the biggest names in VPN services, NordVPN. The Panama-based firm frequently offers heavy discounts on its services, especially if you commit to multiple years at a time, which makes it similarly matched to Ivacy price-wise. NordVPN is a touch more expensive with two-year plans working out at the equivalent of $3.99 per month rather than Ivacy's $2.25 per month.
We're tempted to say NordVPN is worth the extra, too. While both providers offer great compatibility with Netflix, NordVPN's speed when downloading files is that bit faster and makes it a more compelling choice than Ivacy. It rarely suffers from connection drops either.
Having said that, for a simple app to use, Ivacy beats NordVPN. It's a little too simple for those advanced users keen to check pings and tweak settings, but it's ideal for those that want a painless enough browsing experience. Providing they don't mind switching things around to Streaming for if they want to watch Netflix, that is.
Ultimately, for an all-round VPN, you can't go wrong with NordVPN over Ivacy.
Cheap, but nothing to write home about.
Ivacy is a very attractively priced VPN service provider that has an initially easy-to-use app that will appeal to newbies. It's also deeply flawed, offering great Netflix streaming potential, but awkward to narrow down torrenting support. With sluggish performance speeds at times, it's a fairly run-of-the-mill VPN that has its moments but nothing more.
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