Ivacy is a Singapore-based VPN which – according to its website – offers just about every feature you need for almost no money at all.
There are 200+ servers in more than 50 countries, for instance. Wide protocol support enables using it anywhere. It's torrent-friendly, there’s no logging, the service supports up to five simultaneous connections, plus it has a kill switch to protect your privacy if the connection drops. It also unblocks streaming content around the globe – oh, and the company says it's the ‘fastest VPN in the world’, too.
- Want to try Ivacy? Check out the website here
Single month subscriptions are relatively expensive at $11.95 (£9.70, AU$15.70), but as we write this plummets to a majorly discounted $2.50 (£2, AU$3.30) per month if you subscribe for one year, $1.66 (£1.35, AU$2.20) over two years.
Unusually, these figures apply for a lifetime. If you purchase a 2-year plan and leave it to renew, then you'll pay the same amount again, whatever the current price might be.
Ivacy's policy pages are a highlight, with well-organised text focusing on the key points you need to know, and legal jargon is kept to the absolute bare minimum.
The company explains that it doesn't log or monitor your online activities, or hold any session data, so is unable to connect a specific activity with a particular user.
Ivacy doesn't store any personal data beyond your email address. This isn't shared, sold or rented to others, and inactive accounts are removed after 12 months.
The company uses Google Analytics on its website, a small negative as some outfits host their own analytics service, but it's not an issue for the core service.
Elsewhere, we found the 7-day refund policy had some important conditions. It doesn't apply if you've used Bitcoin or Paymentwall as your payment method, or if you’ve used more than 7GB of bandwidth, or connected more than 30 times.
African users may also be hit by Ivacy's ‘anti-fraud’ policy, which refuses accounts to clients in any African nation other than South Africa. The company may make an exception if you can give them proof of identity, including “government issued IDs or landline phone” – check the terms of service for details.
Signing up with Ivacy was straightforward, and the company provides its own apps and instructions to help install the service on other devices, including routers.
We didn't test the mobile apps, but noticed that their app store ratings were relatively poor: an average of 3.5-stars at Google Play, but a miserable 1-star over at iTunes. We only review what we see ourselves, but a 1-star rating does suggest there might be a problem.
Ivacy's Windows client initially asks the user to choose from a list of ‘purposes’ representing what they're looking to do or achieve online: Torrenting, Unblock Websites, VoIP Services, Hulu, Netflix UK, the Fastest Server for each country, and more. Choose a purpose, click Quick Connect and the client selects a location and protocol, adjusts its settings accordingly and gets you online.
The system is handy for beginners who aren't sure which protocols to choose, but there's also a Personalised Selection panel for folks who know what they're doing. This works much like any other VPN client, displaying a list of services, a choice of protocols, and allowing you to select whatever you need.
There are some interesting advanced features, too. Split Tunnelling allows only specific applications to go through the VPN (‘browser = yes, email = no’, for example), there's a secure DNS option, IPv6 leak protection and a kill switch to stop all internet activity if your connection goes down.
Performance was excellent in our tests*. Latencies were better than average, just about every server in every country delivered 30Mbps download speeds at a minimum, and even the ‘worst’, Australia, gave us 25-30Mbps.
Ivacy did well in the privacy tests, too, blocking DNS and WebRTC leaks and keeping us safely anonymised.
We've seen Ivacy get some terrible reviews online, but we can only score the VPN on our own experiences, and the reality is it worked very well. As one of the complaints is the difficulty in getting refunds, we tested the company by asking for one and offering very little explanation. We received one email asking if they could help, we said no, and the refund arrived 20 hours later.
Ivacy proved to be a solid all-round VPN for us – it’s easy to use, with lots of locations, high speeds and some interesting advanced features. The mobile experience may not be as good, though, so we'd recommend signing up for one month and testing the service first.
*Our testing included evaluating general performance (browsing, streaming video). We also used speedtest.net to measure latency, upload and download speeds, and then tested immediately again with the VPN turned off, to check for any difference (over several rounds of testing). We then compared these results to other VPN services we've reviewed. Of course, do note that VPN performance is difficult to measure as there are so many variables.