Ivacy VPN review verdict
Ivacy VPN is a decent choice for those looking for a low-cost VPN for streaming services unblocking. It looks like a good bargain, so it's worth testing out. Ivacy received its ioXt Alliance certification in July 2021, so it now comes highly recommended for privacy and security too. I am a huge advocate of external audits, I even complained to Ivacy about the lack thereof, and I'm thrilled they are now certified by a trustworthy organization.
Personally, if I didn't do the job I'm doing right now, which offers me free VPN subscriptions to review them, I would probably renew my 5-year Ivacy sub. I cannot be more honest than this here, it's really cheap, and it's a great performer in most aspects.
Note: You can now use Borderpolar's discount code: Border20 for an extra 20% discount. We decided to strike this deal with Ivacy as we recommend Ivacy as one of the best affordable VPNs in the market.
- Solid unblocking performance.
- Swift support.
- Value-for-money, especially on the 5-year plan.
- Decent speeds for what you pay.
- Certified by the ioXt Alliance as of July 2021.
- Slow updates and feature addition, e.g., WireGuard.
- No security/privacy audits.
- Client apps could have been more informative.
If you are looking for a free VPN instead make sure to check our list of the best free VPNs.
Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links, just like all other review pages will in the future. This is a way for the audience to fund this blog and a guarantee that it won't be partial to any service or product we review. I will give them all great grades so that you will buy them and make me rich, just like all affiliate “experts” do. Nah, kidding.
A Little Backstory
There is something entirely different about the long-term reviews of products you bought by choice, a personal aspect. Most reviews on Borderpolar won't have that aspect, but the first one does. So, around Easter time in 2020, I needed to spend some money.
So I came across an offer for the Ivacy VPN, and it was quite an interesting one. Ivacy was 90% off on the 5-year plan with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
I checked a few reviews online, and it turned out that most reviewers considered Ivacy decent. The price I got for the purchase was $55.66. This is less than $1/month. That's how I bought Ivacy.
Let's start then.
What is Ivacy?
Ivacy is a Singapore-based VPN provider company, and as its website claims, it is an award-winning one. Every VPN provider claims they are award-winning, and most of them are by some well-known or less well-known blog.
Ivacy VPN's infrastructure
Another claim on their website, as of January 7th, 2021, is that they have a network of 2,000+ servers. Another one is that they have a network of 1000+ servers. What I found on another page of their website is that they have 3,000+ servers. Finally, I contacted their affiliate marketing PR team to inquire about this, and they told me that they now have 3,500+ servers, a number I finally found on Ivacy's VPN servers page.
The VPN servers page actually lists 793 VPN servers, so I'll go with that. To clarify, 793 VPN servers is not a bad number at all. But the inconsistency in numbers looks like a feeble marketing attempt. Most VPN providers follow similar tactics without providing all server hostnames.
Ivacy does provide a list of VPN server hostnames, though.
Ivacy Apps & Features
Now after going full bad cop, let's list the positives of Ivacy. Ivacy offers various apps, including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, accompanied by Chrome, Edge, and Firefox extensions.
There are also instructions for manually setting up the service on routers, Kodi, Linux, Roku, consoles, and more devices. This is an impressive app and device support, and it's very well documented. You will not have trouble setting up Ivacy on major platforms, as it's a pretty straightforward process.
Ivacy is torrent-friendly, while it also offers malware blocking and a no-logging policy. The service supports up to five simultaneous connections, and it has an Internet kill switch to protect your privacy in the case of disconnects.
Ivacy's protocol support covers L2TP, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 protocols.
At the same time, split tunneling allows you to choose which traffic you route through the VPN tunnel, and the feature list goes on, including extra features such as a dedicated IP and port-forwarding.
Plans and Pricing
If the service isn't working as it should, 24/7 support via email, ticket, and live chat is ready to assist you. And yes, they respond really fast to all your inquiries. Customer support won't disappoint you with Ivacy.
Ivacy subscription plans
Ivacy's pricing plans are very competent in most cases. Monthly billing is reasonable at $9.95, but this falls to $3.50/month on the annual plan, and the five-year plan is an insanely low $1.00 a month/month.
Optional extras include dedicated IPs (US, UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore) for a reasonable $1.99 a month and port forwarding support for $1 per month.
Note: I evaluate Ivacy's cheapest option without a dedicated IP and port forwarding in this review.
Ivacy accepts various payment methods, including all major credit cards. Here is the full list of payment methods for Ivacy:
- Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB, Diner's Club cards
- PayPal (my personal preference when available)
- Bitcoin via BitPay
- many others, including Click and Buy, dotpay, neosurf, and more
Ivacy also provides a trial option that gives you seven days to check out the service for just $0.99, enough time to get a taste of its capabilities.
However, in most cases, the 7-day trial automatically renews as the annual plan unless you cancel in time. And yet, even if you sign up and regret it, you're further protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee (or 7-days for monthly-billed accounts). All this means is that you can have up to 37 days to test ivacy before making a verdict. That's pretty a good time frame.
Privacy and Logging – The Good Part
The policy details the personal data Ivacy does collect (name, email address, payment methods) and other collection methods (app crash reports and diagnostics, Google Analytics on the website).
Finally, Ivacy also allows you to request the deletion of your personal information via the Members Area of its website.
Privacy and Logging – The Bad Part is Now Fixed
Update: As of July 2021, Ivacy has been certified by the ioXt Alliance, an organization responsible for setting privacy and security standards to be met regarding IoT. ioXt analyzed Ivacy VPN and certified it after it passed 45 challenging security tests.
For transparency, I will leave the quote of my original review present:
For that reason, I cannot recommend Ivacy VPN in 2021 to anyone who has privacy as their number one priority. Ivacy may be doing everything by the book and providing complete privacy, but I would not look towards Ivacy's direction due to the lack of regularly publicized privacy audits. I would go for a more pricey and transparent choice.“
When a VPN performs so well in this price range and even passes external audits and receives certification by the same alliance that certifies digital heavyweights such as Amazon and Google, it is inevitable to highly recommend it to Borderpolar's readers.
Ivacy's Business Model
When evaluating a product or service, it is crucial to understand its target audience's business model. My understanding is that Ivacy's priority is providing reliable streaming service unblocking, ease of use, and strong customer support to people who want to use it to overcome the region-blocking of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+.
Ivacy has not invested in industry-leading speed and latency nor regular privacy evaluations.
Note: This review is targetting Ivacy's performance and unlocking capabilities on laptops, desktops, and smartphones. I have not evaluated Ivacy on 4K smart TVs, so if you want to check whether services like Disney+ are unlocked successfully, you will need to wait for an updated review or do your own research.
Now that is where the previous section about Ivacy‘s business model makes sense. Ivacy is not targeting those who want to browse the web anonymously constantly with the best privacy guarantees and protocols. However, in terms of performance, I would give Ivacy a solid 8/10, and that's coming from a location with quite a poor Internet infrastructure. My 100Mbps connection can only reach 60-65Mbps, so we have to take this into account.
This grade primarily results from how well Ivacy works with streaming service unblocking and its solid performance when streaming even 4K quality videos.
Latency, Download & Upload Speed
First of all, Ivacy is a solid performer in latency, download, and upload speed. Latency increases analogously to distance, which is expected. On the other hand, I would expect the download speed dropoff not to be affected by distance, but it may be related to server load. Within Europe, Ivacy is definitely an excellent performer.
However, establishing a connection to a VPN server is definitely not the fastest in the industry; At the same time, I have to admit I did not feel comfortable using Ivacy to connect to the US, Australia, or Hong Kong while writing blog posts. It still works, but it's not as responsive as you'd want it to be. Connecting to Europe is fully responsive, though, and that's a testament to Ivacy's progress in 2021.
Make no mistake, considering its asking price, these numbers are great, and they will definitely be good enough for streaming, where low latency is not a priority.
|Location||Ping [ms]||Download Speed [Mbps]||Download Speed Dropoff||Upload Speed [Mbps]||Upload Speed Dropoff|
|Baseline – Athens, Greece, no VPN||7||60.27||N/A||10.11||N/A|
|Greece – Athens||9||57.19||5.11%||9.58||5.24%|
|Romania – Bucharest||25||60.05||0.37%||9.78||3.26%|
|Spain – Madrid||74||59.96||0.51%||9.41||6.92%|
|France – Paris||48||60.09||0.30%||9.53||5.74%|
|The UK – London||49||59.83||0.73%||9.7||4.06%|
|Netherlands – Amsterdam||51||60.03||0.40%||8.83||12.66%|
|Germany – Frankfurt||55||59.06||2.01%||9.26||8.41%|
|USA – New York||137||37.63||37.56%||3.1||69.34%|
|USA – Los Angeles||186||45.41||24.66%||6.19||38.77%|
|Canada – Toronto||132||45.62||24.31%||6.35||37.19%|
|Australia – Melbourne||283||29.59||50.90%||3.63||64.09%|
|Average Download Dropoff||16.03%||Average|
Browsing, in most cases, is not a matter of bandwidth but a matter of latency instead. I live in Greece, so when I choose the automatic option on Ivacy's Windows app, I connect to Romania by default. This is where Ivacy shoots itself in the foot, as Turkey's much closer option or Greece is available.
Regardless, the performance is excellent but keep the following in mind. The speed test was performed with the VPN server connecting to a server in Bucharest, Romania. Depending on where you connect on the internet, performance will differ because of the CDNs available close to the Romanian server.
I still could browse the Internet just fine with Ivacy, both by connecting to Romania or somewhere closer to me. I just did not feel extremely comfortable wi
So in my case, by manually selecting a server, I can browse without noticing I'm using a VPN for the most part. Of course, the catch here is that each individual requires different privacy levels, and for some being that close to their original country of residence is not a great fit. Again, I wouldn't recommend Ivacy for such use cases.
For everyday users who want to browse anonymously, Ivacy is a satisfying performer if you have a server close to you. Of course, this means that it's better to look at the servers' page before purchasing any plan.
This is where things get interesting as I consider Ivacy to be mostly targeting users that want to region-unlock streaming services. I typically connect to the US, UK, and Australia to unlock any content in rare cases. It goes without saying that these connection options are not viable for lengthy anonymous browsing in my case, although the performance is acceptable, all things considered.
However, this is where the very cool part starts. When I overcome the occasional connection timeout and start streaming, I have faced no problems so far on my laptops.
Netflix: I constantly watch shows and movies from Netflix US and UK in Full HD quality on Microsoft Edge. I doubt Netflix selects the 2K option my monitors support on the native app, though. On the other hand, selecting 4K quality on YouTube US leads to almost seamless streaming even with such a poor connection, and I deem this a quite impressive feat for Ivacy.
Just don't expect Ivacy to reach ExpressVPN's Netflix excellence.
Disney+: In most likelihood, you won't have much success with Disney+ using the Windows or macOS app. Most of the time, you will get an “Access Restricted” message. To overcome this, you will use the browser extensions and switch locations, possibly several times. You will also need to remove Disney+ cookies sometimes.
Combined with the high latency, if you connect to the US from Europe, as I do, the process can get quite lengthy and annoying. Despite that, I have successfully unblocked Disney+ most of the time, and I have not had the same issue on mobile.
“The Mandalorian” plays without any issues at all while streaming. No interruptions and Full HD quality on Windows. On my smartphone, it definitely looks like 1440p video quality.
Hulu: I had no problems streaming Hulu, but the quality was worse than 720p. Despite that, I think it's hard to blame Ivacy for that when every other service performs so well.
Note: If you are streaming on your browser, there will be a resolution cap. Microsoft Edge can go up to 1080p (FHD), Google Chrome and Firefox can go up to 720p (HD) regardless of the operating system, and Safari on macOS Big Sur seems to be able to go up to 4K, just like Netflix's native app on Windows.
On Android, I can successfully stream 1440p videos on YouTube when connected to the US. However, Netflix decides to serve content with below HD quality. Disney+, as already mentioned, looks outstanding on my OnePlus 8 Pro on a Wi-Fi connection, and the latency is negligent. I don't even have to switch to 4G – not that I would.
US channels & more: All the US channels listed in the apps worked for me. Remember, though, that many of those will ask you to provide TV provider credentials for long-term use.
Verdict on performance
Considering the price tag, I was impressed by Ivacy's performance during the 9-month period I've been using. Ivacy is a solid performer. Yes, I wish I would experience less latency on Windows and Mac when connecting to the UK or the US, but the overall performance is still more than good enough for streaming purposes and my privacy requirements. 7.5/10.
Verdict on Unblocking
I have nothing negative to say about Ivacy here. It unblocks whatever it claims to unblock. Ivacy can successfully unblock BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, US YouTube, Disney+, ABC, BT Sport, CBS, Fox Sports Go, HBO Now, Hulu, NBC, and more with Ivacy. However, I will give Ivacy an 8.5/10 on unblocking performance.
My main concern is Disney+ as I think it's a very challenging service and a stringent one, so I can only hope Ivacy's unblocking will last, even if it requires some tinkering in location selection, even quite a lot of trial and error sometimes.
After reviewing other VPNs, I have observed that the best VPNs out there handle Disney+ much better.
Features & Ease of Use
Ivacy's apps do very well in the ease of use department. I have had zero issues installing and setting up any of the three apps I use (Windows, macOS, and Android) and the browser extensions. I also had no issues with my Linux configuration, although I have to use Chrome or Firefox for streaming service unlocking.
I accessed all supported streaming services through the Windows and macOS app and automatically opened the service on the default browser. The service does not detect the use of a VPN, and the streaming proceeded successfully. However, Disney+ is not supported out of the box by the apps, so you will need to connect using a browser extension and toy around with locations to get the Disney+ website on your browser.
But Disney+ is so hostile towards VPNs – I will be adding more on that soon – that I'm just glad Ivacy works with it, even if it's not from the apps.
That being said, there are a few things that need improvement. First of all, you cannot switch locations or make any settings changes while connected. In some cases, I found myself a bit disappointed by this. Secondly, the list of countries and cities does not show ping times and load factors.
This is very problematic because you want to try the best available server option when you connect manually. Ivacy provides three connection options:
- “Streaming” enables you to unblock streaming platforms (Amazon Prime Video, BBC, Hulu, Netflix, and many more).
- “Unblock” allows access to geo-blocked websites.
- “Secure Download,” which seems to block downloads from blacklisted URLs.
The Windows app settings enable choosing your preferred startup mode, such as opening the Streaming page. There's an option to switch protocol (OpenVPN UDP or TCP, L2TP or IKEv2), split tunneling, a kill switch, and an option that enables scanning for open ports to help bypass VPN blocking. I could not find a protocol-switch option on the macOS app, so I assume it uses IKEv2.
Ivacy's Android app provides the same connection modes (streaming, secure download, and unblocking), a connection list displayed by country or city, a kill switch, split tunneling, and multiport mode. However, protocol support is limited to OpenVPN UDP or TCP. Other than that, I have to say that I have encountered no problems with this app.
It's a similar story with the iOS app, aside from the lack of a kill switch and its use of IKEv2 rather than OpenVPN, but it's an app I have not tested yet, as I don't own any iOS devices.
Finally, the Ivacy representative I reached out to told me that WireGuard support is coming in 2021.
I want to note that while I have a below-par internet connection, it is a very stable one. I only encountered connection issues on rare occasions, despite reading that other users have encountered such issues. This review is based on my own experience, so I cannot consider those.
Split tunneling was easy to set up and worked on Windows, macOS, and Android apps. I consider it quite useful as it allows you to use one browser for stream unblocking, for instance, and the rest to browser the web normally without suffering the performance hit.
The killswitch worked quite well in my tests, but with such slow speeds and big latency at times, it's hard to imagine that it will always prevent leaks during a VPN connection loss. I could not produce such a scenario, but that's one reason you need a high-quality connection from the VPN provider.
Ease of use verdict
I doubt anyone will have issues with the ease of use of the Ivacy apps. I would have preferred more detailed descriptions about the servers and faster feature addition, especially since they would be to the company's advantage. Once again, though, you get what you pay for, so I would rate the ease of use with an 8.5/10.
The documentation and troubleshooting guides available are definitely not ideal. Some are very basic, and others are a bit outdated.
What is impressive is the 24/7 live chat support, which is very fast to respond to. I had the same experience with email support. I am a big fan of live chat support as it is straightforward, so I'm giving the overall support service a 9/10 rating.
Ivacy VPN review – Final verdict
Ivacy is a full-featured VPN service offered at a meager price. It is not perfect in terms of speed, but it does very well in device support, unblocking, and customer support. So, do I recommend Ivacy?
Asking for industry-leading performance and features is probably a bit too much to ask at this price range. But at the end of the day, Ivacy VPN is a bang for the buck for the average user.
Ι will be updating my Ivacy VPN review as Ivacy told me that they would add WireGuard support at some point in 2021, and they are working on performance improvements. I will also be adding 4K testing sooner or later.