IP Van­ish

SLICK AND SPEEDY, WITH IN-DEPTH OP­TIONS THAT TECHIES WILL LOVE, BUT NOTE THE LACK OF SUP­PORT FOR US NET­FLIX

PC & Tech Authority - - CONTENTS - STU­ART AN­DREWS

IPVanish re­cently had a ma­jor re­design, but we sus­pect it will still ap­peal to its tar­get mar­ket of more tech­ni­cal users. While some VPNs launch in a min­i­mal, ap­plet-style win­dow, this one is a big, multi-tabbed af­fair full of band­width graphs and real-time info up­dates. Even the Quick Con­nect mode is more in-depth than ri­vals, let­ting you se­lect not just a coun­try, but an in­di­vid­ual server in a speci c city. It’s not dif cult to use, but the em­pha­sis is clearly on con­trol rather than sim­plic­ity.

This makes it ideal for ad­vanced users who like to tin­ker. Want to change the VPN pro­to­col or tog­gle dif­fer­ent types of leak pro­tec­tion on and off? Go ahead. You can also choose to ob­fus­cate OpenVPN traf c (to foil ser­vices that try to use deep packet in­spec­tion to de­tect VPN us­age), au­to­mat­i­cally switch IP ad­dresses pe­ri­od­i­cally, or use IPVanish’s own DNS servers for ad­di­tional leak pre­ven­tion. It’s safe to say that, when it comes to pri­vacy, IPVanish al­ways goes the ex­tra mile.

De­spite its rich fea­ture list, IPVanish is easy to get around. The Quick Con­nect mode gets you pro­tected in a few clicks, while the server list lets you browse a mass of use­ful in­for­ma­tion, with proper search tools and op­tions to sort the servers by coun­try, re­sponse time or load. The map view that used to dom­i­nate the Win­dows app is no longer front and cen­tre, but it’s still there if you pre­fer to pick lo­ca­tions in a visual way. And while we’re not quite sure what pur­pose the real-time band­width graph re­ally serves, it You can use IPVanish’s map view to se­lect a spe­cific server lo­ca­tion looks pretty cool.

IPVanish boasts over 1,000 servers across 60 coun­tries, and while the vast ma­jor­ity of these are in North Amer­ica or Europe, there are also out­posts in Brazil and South Africa, plus a de­cent selec­tion in Asia – par­tic­u­larly in Hong Kong and Sin­ga­pore. What­ever your re­quire­ments, there­fore, you shouldn’t have any prob­lems nd­ing a suit­able server, and it rarely takes more than a few sec­onds to make the ini­tial con­nec­tion.

Con­nec­tion speeds are some­what mixed. We found that short-dis­tance con­nec­tions re­tained be­tween 83% and 86% of our reg­u­lar con­nec­tion speed, which is ne if not ex­cep­tional. Where IPVanish shines is in US VPN con­nec­tions: here we saw down­load speeds of over 22Mbits/sec – a clear step ahead of NordVPN’s 20.3Mbits/sec and Avast Se­cure­line’s 19.1Mbits/sec.

That makes IPVanish bril­liant for US-based video stream­ing ser­vices – aside from the un­for­tu­nate fact that the ser­vice is cur­rently blocked by Net ix’s ever-evolv­ing anti-VPN mea­sures. You should also be aware that speeds in Asia are far less im­pres­sive: when we tried rout­ing our traf c via Hong Kong and Sin­ga­pore, our down­load speeds re­mained stuck below 4Mbits/sec across mul­ti­ple tests.

A groovy real-time graph al­lows you to track band­width in cer­tain lo­ca­tions

IPVanish states that it doesn’t mon­i­tor, record or store any in­for­ma­tion on your traf c or your use of its ser­vices, and it also has a tol­er­ant at­ti­tude to tor­rent­ing. How­ever, the com­pany is based in the US, so any in­for­ma­tion it does col­lect could be shared with var­i­ous in­tel­li­gence agen­cies – in­clud­ing Aus­tralia’s. If that con­cerns you, a ser­vice based in an­other coun­try might be a bet­ter op­tion.

Price-wise, IPVanish sits roughly in the mid­dle of the VPN mar­ket. It’s not hugely ex­pen­sive, with a $10 monthly plan and a dis­count $78 an­nual sub­scrip­tion, but some ri­vals are $10 to $20 a year cheaper.

So where does that leave us? Cer­tainly, it doesn’t knock NordVPN from its perch as our pick of the VPN ser­vices: it’s al­most as fast as IPVanish, just as re­li­able and it’s cur­rently do­ing a bet­ter job of un­block­ing US stream­ing ser­vices.

Nev­er­the­less, IPVanish is a pol­ished, well-de­signed VPN with an im­pres­sive and highly con gurable set of pri­vacy fea­tures. Other ser­vices may be cheaper or faster, and some cus­tomers may be put off by the idea of US ju­ris­dic­tion, not to men­tion the lack of Net ix. If you’re look­ing for con­trol, how­ever, you’ll strug­gle to nd an­other VPN that comes close. $10 per month • www. ipvanish.com/ aus­tralia-vpn

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