Starting at $10 per month, IPVanish VPN (for Linux) does a decent job competing with the other Linux virtual private networks (VPNs), though it joins the growing crowd of competitors that decided not to invest in a Linux-compatible graphical user interface (GUI) to ease the installation process. If you want a better GUI and other options, then check out our three Editors’ Choice picks, NordVPN (for Linux), Private Internet Access VPN (for Linux), and TorGuard VPN (for Linux).
Pricing and Features
IPVanish VPN begins at the aforementioned $10 per month (billed monthly) for five simultaneous connections, unlimited server switching, and unlimited bandwidth. For those willing to go all the way out to one year of service, you can save 46 percent by purchasing it on an annual basis, which brings the price down to just $6.49 per month. All of its plans include 256-bit AES encryption, unlimited traffic, and a user-friendly application for all platforms, except Linux. It does support the most popular protocols including OpenVPN, which is the first choice for Linux users, as well as PPTP and L2TP/IPsec. Sadly, it does not support static IP, so anyone who had hopes of running a web server should consider a different service.
IPVanish has servers in over 60 countries around the world. For those needing help getting started, it does offer email support, but this is far from the instant support that some other competitors provide.
Setup and Experience under Linux
As expected, there is a bit of a hump to get over when setting up IPVanish VPN (for Linux). It works by leveraging OpenVPN, a popular cross platform VPN software or Ubuntu PPTP, which is typically less secure. It provides a sophisticated visual guide to get you started, but expect to spend some time in the terminal to make everything work. At the end, you’ll download a ZIP file of a few hundred VPN templates that you can import into Network Manager. A few clicks later, you can supply a username and password. Then you can toggle the VPN on or off as needed. The downside is that you are really missing out on the graphical clients that are offered for other platforms.
Also noteworthy is the UDP versus TCP templates. For gamers out there who need to minimize lag, UDP is the way to go. For typical browsing and streaming websites, you’ll need TCP for the most part. This is largely your discretion but it’s a helpful rule of thumb to follow.
BitTorrent and Netflix
Netflix will not work with IPVanish VPN. While it’s easy to blame IPVanish for this, Netflix is just getting really good at blocking VPN providers. While a precious few, like NordVPN (for Linux), allow Netflix usage without any additional hoops, most will require some kind of plug-in or workaround. IPVanish VPN provides none of these. While this could change in the future, it shouldn’t be counted on. For those needing this kind of support, it’s worth looking at NordVPN instead.
BitTorrent users will be happy to hear that BitTorrent works perfectly with IPVanish VPN. I found the transfers to be speedy, although still constrained to the caveats mentioned in the speed tests. Upload speed was my major gripe. There are also no special servers to connect to, so connect and torrent away!
Speed and Performance
To perform my speed tests, I used a copy of Ubuntu 17 on a VMWare instance with a middle-of-the-road configuration with 8 gigabytes (GB) of RAM and two processor cores. Speed is largely going to be determined by the server to which you connect, so it’s imperative you use the server recommendations on the website. They will give you the best chance at a successful connection.
I tested three metrics that typically define a user’s experience over a network connection. First, I measured latency, which is the time it takes for packets of data to travel to a remote server and back to your computer in milliseconds (ms). In this category, lower is always better. The other two metrics are upload and download speed. For those two, higher is always better. However, since everyone’s internet connection is different and these values tend to fluctuate over time, I represent these as a percentage changed against a baseline measurement of my connection without the VPN. Each data point is tested domestically with a VPN server in the United States and internationally with a VPN server in Australia. In addition, I cite the highest speed recorded. All metrics are gathered using Ookla Speed Test, which is owned by PCMag’s publisher Ziff Davis (a J2 global company).
The domestic latency of IPVanish VPN suffered a 76.64 percent increase in latency from my baseline measurement. International latency tested at a 21.5 percent decrease in latency. The lowest ping time recorded domestically was 102ms while the highest was 274ms. For comparison, the lowest international ping time was 68ms while the highest was 96ms.
For download speed, there was a 63.8 percent decrease in speed domestically and a 92.7 percent decrease in speed internationally. The domestic upload speed decreased on average by 79.01 percent. International upload speed had a significant but expected decrease in speed of 27.93 percent on average. The fastest recorded download speed for IPVanish VPN was 80.68 megabits per second (Mbps), and the fastest upload speed was 4.88 Mbps.
Logging and Privacy
For those traveling to China, IPVanish does have a guide for connecting. Because the domain is blocked when trying to connect from China, you will need to bring along a list of IPs to connect to. Otherwise, it should work fine.