IPVanish review: Come for the VPN, stay for the cloud storage

A VPN service can often be distinct or unique in its app design, approach to privacy, extra services and tools, and general branding. Despite this, you might be surprised to learn that a number of VPNs are under a single corporate umbrella. IPVanish is one such example—it’s owned by J2 Global, under its Netprotect division, which also houses VPN brands Encrypt.Me, SaferVPN, StrongVPN, and Vipre.

Netprotect also runs SugarSync, an encrypted backup and cloud storage service, which offers 250GB worth of storage as an add-on with every IPVanish subscription.

IPVanish, according to Netprotect, is all about “protecting personal information online…with a carefully-architected network spanning more than 1,300 servers across 75 plus locations.”

So how well does IPVanish accomplish this task? Let’s take a look.

Note: This review is part of our best VPNs roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.

IPVanish: Security, software, servers, and speed

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IPVanish for Mac with an active connection.

IPVanish uses OpenVPN UDP as its default protocol; there’s also OpenVPN TCP, IKEv2, IPSec, and L2TP. Surprisingly, IPVanish doesn’t have a WireGuard implementation yet, but the company says it’s working on it. For data encryption it uses 256-bit AES CBC/GCM, for data authentication it uses SHA-256, and the handshake is 2048-bit RSA.

A nice way to describe IPVanish’s interface is “well aged.” It looks nearly the same as it did in 2017 when we reviewed IPVanish for PCWorld. It offers three options on the left-hand rail: QuickConnect, Server List, and Account.

QuickConnect has a series of drop-down menus where you can quickly select from one of IPVanish’s more than 75 locations, as well as the city (region), and server. When connected, this tab also displays a usage graph, and at the top you can see your current visible IP address and general location.

If you want a little more information, click the Server List tab where you will find another three tabs: Server, Map, and Filter. The first shows a straightforward list of every country IPVanish covers, as well as the number of servers in each country—or region, in the case of larger countries like the U.S.