Understanding what kind of information a VPN service collects, and how long it is maintained, can be hard to figure out. To get the answer, you may have to wade through unending FAQ pages and opaque terms of service written in arcane legalese. If the VPN company you're considering can't clearly explain what information it gathers and how long it will be kept, it's probably not a great service.
Its jurisdiction lies in the United States, which makes it a part of the Five Eyes Surveillance Alliance. So, if Uncle Sam came knocking on TorGuard’s door, they’d have no choice but to comply. Any information the federal government gathers on you would then be shared with the other member countries, which include the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.
Ivacy's mode for distribution on iPhone is similar to its Android strategy. Again, it offers a free version called Ivacy Lite and the main app called simply Ivacy VPN. We haven't had the chance to test either version, but we look forward to seeing how it compares with other iPhone VPN apps. I'll update this review once we get one of these apps into the lab.
While Public Wi-Fi is a real convenience, it also poses a threat to you privacy. Unsecured public Wi-Fi networks leave you very vulnerable to advertisers, criminals and hackers trying to steal personal data and information. Windscribe VPN for Chrome encrypts your internet connection to secure it preventing others from tracking your browsing activity and leaving invasive tracking cookies in your Chrome browser which compromise your privacy even after you disconnect.
But wait, can’t the piracy groups then go to the anonymizer service and requisition their logs to figure out what you’re downloading? Theoretically, yes, but if you’re using a truly good anonymizer, they don’t keep logs, so there’s no paper trail of activity leading back to you. All the piracy monitors see is a proxy service sharing a file, and all your ISP sees is you connecting to a proxy service. If you encrypt your BitTorrent traffic (which we recommend), your ISP won’t even be able to see that you’re using BitTorrent.
You’ll get slower download speeds. Running your connection through another server inevitably slows you down, though how much depends on what torrent you’re downloading, who from, and a lot of other factors. In my experience, more popular torrents stayed at their top speed of 3.4 MB/s (my bandwidth cap) with a proxy, while other less popular torrents slowed down from 1 MB/s to about 500-600 kB/s. Your mileage may vary. I lost significantly less speed with Private Internet Access than I did with BTGuard, though.
I asked Ivacy if anyone from the company’s senior management was public about their identity, and the response was “no.” Senior management would rather keep identity a secret as other players have done,” a company spokesperson said. “VPN providers are engaged in critical criminal cases which could harm their personal safety and security. Therefore it has been rather advised...to keep a lower profile for the sake of everyone’s security and continued business operations.”
An account with Ivacy VPN costs $8.95 per month, making it one of the most affordable VPNs I've yet reviewed. The average cost of a month-to-month VPN service is currently at around $10.50, well above what Ivacy charges. Ivacy is still pricier than Private Internet Access, however, as that Editors' Choice-winning service runs a mere $6.95 per month.
For each test, our staff connected to the VPN, opened Netflix in a browser or in the Netflix app (depending on the OS), and played a video. If the video played normally, the VPN scored a positive result. If it wasn’t clear which server to connect to for a given VPN, we contacted the VPN’s customer support team to ask which servers work with Netflix.
Using a VPN almost certainly means losing some internet speed because your data is taking a longer, more circuitous path than usual. With a VPN you can expect an increase in latency, as well as a reduction in download and upload speeds. When I review VPNs, I first run a series of tests using Ookla's internet speed test tool. (Note that Ookla is owned by Ziff Davis, which also owns PCMag.) Ookla tests latency, upload speed, and download speed, so those are the figures I look at as well.
When it comes to the sheer number of servers to choose from, it’s tough to beat IPVanish. One of the most popular VPNs worldwide, IPVanish takes privacy very seriously and has been built with torrenting in mind. It creates no logs, not even the connection logs used for troubleshooting like ExpressVPN. L2TP and OpenVPN protocols both use 256-bit encryption. IPVanish uses shared IP addresses, and even has a built-in feature that lets users switch IPs periodically, such as every 60 minutes.
BitTorrent's dubious distinction as the pirate's tool of choice has led to indiscriminate crackdowns from ISPs on the use of BitTorrent. With a virtual private network, or VPN, your traffic is encrypted and secured to ensure that no one can see what you're up to—even when you're torrenting. The catch is, not every VPN service allows BitTorrent on its servers.
Using a free VPN for anonymous torrenting is generally a no-no. Due to the large amount of bandwidth required, many free VPN services prohibit P2P activity. Others aren’t secure, and many have data caps. The common adage that comes with free services is that if you don’t buy the product, then you are the product. This is especially true because a VPN isn’t just a piece of software, it’s an ongoing service that requires continuous resources and maintenance.
Secondly, a VPN prevents other users downloading and/or uploading the same files as you from seeing your IP address. BitTorrent is a P2P, or peer-to-peer, protocol. That means everyone who uses the same torrent file is connected in what’s known as a “swarm”. Each device connected to the swarm can see all of the other IP addresses of all the other devices in the swarm. Many BitTorrent clients even allow you to view a list of other devices you’re connected to when leeching or seeding files on the network.
I had no trouble installing the Windows client on a Lenovo ThinkPad T460s laptop running the latest version of Windows 10. I did, however, have some trouble signing up for Ivacy. For some reason, the site wasn't returning an error message when I accidentally used the incorrect payment information. Note that Ivacy accepts all major credit cards, as well as Alipay, Bitty, PayPal, and sundry cryptocurrencies. This last option is important if you want to pay for your VPN anonymously.
For its part, Ivacy uses only 26 virtual servers. Hide My Ass, on the other hand, is able to support its incredible number of server locations because only 61 of its servers are physical. The rest, numbering almost 300 servers, are virtual. NordVPN has no virtual servers, while Private Internet Access and TunnelBear use virtual servers to accommodate users rather than support faux-locations.
PrivateVPN unblocks Netflix in more countries than any other provider—no small feat for a young VPN with only a hundred or so servers. The servers that work best for streaming are clearly labelled in the app, which is simple and novice-friendly. PrivateVPN scored well in our speed tests, meaning you can continue to stream your favorite Netflix shows in high definition.
The Dedicated IP option requires an add-on purchase (discussed below). The Unblocking option defaults to a nearby country that doesn't have restricted content. If you're looking to access websites blocked by your local government, this is the option for you. I'm not clear on Secure Download options, however. When I selected it, Ivacy connected me to a VPN server in Belgium. To my mind, the Belgians are known for their excellent beer and not so much their prestige in downloading.
Ivacy's privacy is longer and less clear than I like, but entirely readable. It might sound a bit odd, but I actually have preferences when it comes to privacy policies. TunnelBear's, for example, is very easy to read and includes pop-outs to explain the company's thinking and complex issues. TorGuard has, perhaps, the shortest and most glib of privacy policies.
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.
I had issues with them not assigning dns from their own network. No matter where I connect I get my isp dns. I contacted support over 3 days and finally i was told to use OpenDNS or GoogleDNS. Other VPN providers assign DNS from their network where the ip is comming from. Support is fast , but they do not answer technical questions and they do not read the email you sent after trouble shooting. I bought the service for like $1.00/m for 3years. Money well wasted. The service sucks the support sucks. Their chat on their website is also intermittent. Very bad VPN Service. Please dont fall for the price or lifetime offers from Ivacy VPN.