Ivacy offers only 459 servers, a bit below the 500-server minimum threshold I have come to expect. In fact, so many VPN services are now exceeding 700 and even 1,000 servers that I may need to raise the cutoff soon. NordVPN currently leads the pack with over 3,400 servers, and Private Internet Access is close behind with 3,275. TorGuard recently expanded its offering to 3,000 servers, placing it among the three most robust services I have yet reviewed.
Many VPN companies now offer browser extensions in addition to native apps. These are much more lightweight than their desktop companions and have the added advantage of being available anywhere you log in to a browser. The downside, as I discovered when working with Chromebook VPNs, is that VPN browser extensions only encrypt your browser traffic. The rest of your computer's data travels outside the encrypted tunnel.
Buffered previously was able to unblock Netflix in a web browser on MacOS and Windows, but this is no longer the case as of September 2017. A customer support rep told us, “As of the moment, we are unable to access Netflix US with any of our servers. A fix is being worked on and should be forthcoming fairly shortly. We have no update though as of yet.”
A quick note about VPN testing: networks are finnicky things, and we don't claim our work to be the be-all and end-all of VPN speed testing. Instead, this is a snapshot of how a particular service performed on a specific day. We also don't think that speeds should be the only metric used to evaluate a VPN, but it's clearly of concern to BitTorrent users.
Some unscrupulous free VPN providers could well be scraping users’ personal data and selling it to third parties. One such high-profile case was Hola, a free VPN provider based in Israel. Hola was caught selling users’ bandwidth, and it was criticized for being opaque about how each Hola user became a node on the network rather than hosting its own dedicated VPN servers.
ExpressVPN unblocks Netflix on every platform tested, including Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Linux, and certain wifi routers. ExpressVPN lets you connect up to three devices at a time. Plus, every ExpressVPN subscription comes with the MediaStreamer smart DNS proxy. MediaStreamer can unblock Netflix on devices that don’t normally support VPNs, such as Apple TV, PS4, and Xbox One.
Perhaps you'll decide that all this effort isn't worth it just to secure your BitTorrent downloads. But even so, you should keep in mind that a VPN is still the best way to keep your internet traffic private and secure. Whether you decide to spring for a premium account, you're looking for a cheap VPN, or you want to dip your toe in with a free VPN, it's about time you started living the encrypted lifestyle.
Netflix’s VPN ban is a blunt instrument put in place to appease copyright holders. It blocks VPN users no matter where they are located so long as a proxy is detected. This is not a fair policy to paying subscribers. Forcing users to turn off their VPNs could sacrifice privacy, especially those connected on unsecured public wi-fi networks or traveling abroad to surveillance-heavy countries.
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While you’re online, your browser is constantly sending information it collects about you to every site you visit. It shares your IP location, operating system, hardware, and even information about other devices connected to your network. If a website you trust, such as Google or YouTube, can access this information without you even knowing, just imagine what a malicious site could find out.
As you can see, disguising your IP address is vital for bittorrent users. All VPNs mask your real IP address with that of the VPN server. Unfortunately, not all of them do a very good job. Most VPNs don’t protect against certain types of leaks that can expose your real IP address to third parties. These include DNS leaks, IPv6 leaks, and WebRTC leaks.
This wasn't the only odd connection I had in my testing of Ivacy. Using the fast connect button, the app automatically selected a German VPN server for me. I prefer VPN apps that locate the closest available server. Someone who had never used a VPN before might be quite confused by Ivacy's choice in my case. Thankfully, a search box lets you peruse Ivacy's server offerings by country or even by city.
Windscribe VPN is a Canadian VPN provider that has made a dent in the low-end VPN market. They claim not to keep any logs of activity, and their software is quite good. Windscribe is also one of the last remaining VPNs that works reliably with Netflix without generating the dreaded 'proxy error'. (Hint: NordVPN is another that works flawlessly with Netflix).
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In its policy, Ivacy says that it does not "log or monitor, online browsing activities, connection logs, VPN IPs assigned, original IP addresses, browsing history, outgoing traffic, connection times, data you have accessed and/or DNS queries generated by your end. We have no information that could associate specific activities to specific users." That's exactly what you want to hear from a VPN company.
Smart DNS proxies like Unotelly, Overplay, Unlocator, and Unblock-US were a flash in the pan during Netflix’s war on proxies. After Netflix blocked connections from most VPN servers, many users switched to these services instead. A smart DNS proxy is a server that monitors any DNS requests sent from your device. DNS requests are a means of looking up which domain names (e.g. “netflix.com”) are associated with which servers. If it detects a DNS request for Netflix, it sends all the browser traffic for that request through the server to an American Netflix server, thereby changing both your IP address and DNS server.
We often receive emails asking about the interplay between VPNs and BitTorrent. Some of them have included admissions of piracy, and even justifications for it. One reader bemoaned the difficulty in finding legal avenues for material that is out of print or just hard to obtain or not available for sale in a given locale. We sympathize. The state of the public domain has been woefully neglected, and market forces and regional distribution deals often keep worthy art and materials out of the hands of those who want it, even if they are willing to pay for it. But no matter how just the reasoning, the law (however problematic) is the law. ISPs and, yes, other web companies, are often compelled to answer when rights holders come with a list of offenses carried out on their data infrastructure.
I have used Ivacy for almost two years and just a couple of failures with their KILL SWITCH. The downloading of my data stopped….very nice. Unfortunately the uploading did not! This has happened numerous times and the last time I got the letter from Hollywood via my Internet provider. Something about a copyright infringement. This is the second one while using the Ivacy program. Various servers in numerous countries, yet I am getting the same IP address assigned to me when I hook up.