Malta based iVPN is one of the most rapidly expanding VPN services online. I found out that it has a very neat Windows client so decided to review it briefly. But when I found out about the features and service quality that it offers, I felt that it deserves a more comprehensive review. So here goes:
iVPN Pricing Plan
iVPN has a variety of pricing plans you can choose from. All pricing plans are recurring except for in cases where specifically mentioned otherwise.
Annual: Available for $100, this 12 month subscription plan costs a monthly average of $8.33/mo.
BiAnnual: The BiAnnual plan provides a 6 month subscription for $70, which brings the monthly average to $11.66/mo.
Quarterly: This 3 month subscription is available for a lump sum of $40, coming to an average of $13.33/month.
Monthly Recurring: The one month plan is pretty straightforward and comes for $15 per month.
Once Off One Month: The once-off one month plan is for $20 per month. This is a non-recurring plan that will expire at the end of the 30 days.
All plans come covered with the security of a 7 day money back guarantee, and support OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec protocol. All plans include access to all iVPN servers.
Free Trial & Money Back Guarantee
iVPN does not offer any free trial of any kind. However, iVPN makes up for this shortfall through the money back guarantee.
iVPN offers a 7 day money back guarantee on all of its pricing plans. This gives users the comfort of knowing that they can try iVPN before they commit to the service for the long run. Check out 5 best free VPNs for securing your data.
You can make your payment for your iVPN account through PayPal, Bitcoin and cash. However, iVPN only accepts cash payments when users opt for the 1 year plan.
iVPN offers its users access to OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec protocols. This is indicative of a trend that is rapidly spreading across VPN service providers where PPTP is being abandoned in favor of the much more secure L2TP/IPSec protocol and the much more faster OpenVPN protocol.
Veteran VPN users will appreciate the fact that iVPN offers alternate ports when the customary VPN ports are blocked as a result of any unforeseen circumstances. These include TCP/443, TCP/80 and UDP/53 ports.
Encryption levels: 256 bit AES + 4096 bit RSA
iVPN has 14 servers spread out across 9 countries around the world. It is clear that iVPN does not simply focus on setting up a VPN server spread. Instead, iVPN is taking the time to create a strong and sound server spread that users can trust.
Judging by the ‘Server’ page, iVPN has servers in the 4 locations in the US, 2 locations in the UK, and 2 locations in the Netherlands. iVPN has one server each in Canada, Germany, Romania, France, China and Hong Kong.
You can view the status and traffic load of all iVPN servers online at any time. This practice is in sharp contrast to regular VPN services which do little more than give users a figure of how many VPN servers they allegedly have. Kudos to iVPN!
Another notable thing about iVPN is that the Server Status page shows a track record of server reliability by confirming the availability of the server as it was recorded in the last 7, 30 and 365 days.
Remember that all iVPN servers except for the US based servers support P2P downloading. This allows iVPN to ensure that the US servers remain unaffected by DMCA notices, which otherwise tend to impose.
iVPN is fully compatible with a wide range of devices and operating systems. These include Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows XP, Mac OSX and GNU/Linux systems as well as iPhone, iPad and Android devices. In the router category, iVPN supports DD-WRT, pfSense and Tomato routers.
This iVPN review gives full marks for compatibility and functionality. All leading devices, operating systems and routers are supported. This is particularly in light of the fact that iVPN does not simply claim multi-platform support, but also provides detailed tutorials.
iVPN Windows Client
You can read about the setup tutorial on the official iVPN website. For now, let me show you what the Windows client looks like and how it works.
If you ask me, I give the iVPN windows client full marks for ease of use and functionality. Clearly a lot of thought has been put in the creation of this software because everything is very uncomplicated, easily accessible and neatly arranged.
The startup screen is a very simple looking window that contains your login fields.
You can also access ‘Settings’ and ‘Advanced’ settings through the tabs on top.
The ‘Settings’ section (shown below) is very interesting. You can select your ‘Protocol’ and customize software characteristics in addition to tailoring the Network Proxy to your choice.
The ‘Advanced’ settings are very sophisticated and I recommend that you avoid tampering with them unless you have advanced knowledge about how a VPN connection works.
The ‘Advanced’ settings let you toggle DHCP, delayed routing workaround, DNS leak protection, and software update notifications.
Don’t forget to use the drop-down server list (shown below) to select the VPN server location of your choice before you hit ‘Connect’. The server list contains ‘Single-hop’ and ‘Multi-hop’ servers that you can choose from in order to ensure that your requirements are met.
The iVPN window will then proceed to connect to the iVPN server and display each stage of the connection process as it moves forward.
The connection process usually takes anywhere between 15 to 45 seconds. The first sign of connecting will be that the iVPN window will self-minimize, leaving a small notification on the ‘System Tray’, confirming your connection to the iVPN server. Here is what it will look like:
Clicking on the confirmation notification will open out the iVPN window displaying the server you are connected to, the duration for which you have been connected, your original IP address (that is no longer visible to the internet), and the IP address that the iVPN server has assigned to you.
Clicking on ‘Settings’ in the iVPN client while you are connected will enable you to toggle Protocol/Port and customize your Network Proxy. Here is a screen-cap of what to expect:
The purpose of covering the iVPN Windows client was to conduct a field test of the technical proficiency that iVPN possesses. iVPN also provides software that is designed for Mac OSX 10.7+ users. Safe to say that iVPN clearly has things under control when it comes to software.
The best part of the iVPN software is that you can download it for free and tinker with it to see how it feels. This makes for a very neat scenario if you combine it with the 7 day money back guarantee.
There are numerous channels through which you can get support. iVPN has a Support/FAQ section in addition to the traditional Contact form, a ‘Setup’ section for detailed tutorials, and even a Blog to keep users and visitors updated about iVPN’s developments and upcoming features.
The official email address for the iVPN support team is support[at]ivpn[dot]net. You can also give your feedback on Twitter by addressing your Tweet to the official iVPN twitter account @ivpnnet.
The iVPN FAQ section has to be one of the best and neatest knowledge banks I have ever seen. It has a quick-links menu to the left as well as a very well-presented range of answers to General and Billing related questions.
The FAQ section is also a convenient channel from which you can open support tickets for billing, technical and sales related queries.
The best thing about the FAQ section is that if you click on a specific quick-link to your left, you will be presented with a list of FAQs for that specific area. For instance, if you click on ‘Windows’ from the quick-links list while you are on the FAQs page, iVPN will give you a list of FAQs pertaining specifically to the functioning of iVPN on the Windows platform.
The Blog is not updated very frequently but it still makes for a very good and informative read if you want to stay updated about major developments on the internet that can be expected to influence your internet privacy.
Setup Guides & Tutorials
iVPN offers detailed tutorials for every single configuration on every single platform. The best part is that manual setup instructions are also available in cases where iVPN offers custom software.
Most VPN services fail to recognize that veteran VPN users are more comfortable with exercising control over their VPN connection through manual configuration. Thankfully iVPN has not made that mistake.
Keeping in line with iVPN’s well organized approach, the setup tutorials proceed in a step-by-step fashion, and provide just the right amount of details. Not too little so as to lose the user, and not too much so as to confuse the user. Also, the tutorial instructions come with links to all the resources you will need when engaged in manual setup.
I noticed that there were no graphics in the tutorials, but I also noticed that they are very descriptive and precise in their instructions – thereby reducing the need to rely on graphic illustrations.
In addition tutorials, iVPN also offers privacy guides. These privacy guides are tailored to help users meet specific internety privacy and online security needs. In addition, they also help to spread awareness amongst regular internet users about the online risks that they are vulnerable to. According to the feedback visible on the iVPN website, the official privacy guides are a big hit with netizens. They are not only comprehensive but also very detailed and user-friendly.
Also, iVPN is one of the rare few VPN service providers that do not store any meta-data when its users use the VPN service. This is a major plus-point that very few VPN service providers offer, since most of them argue that they need the data for maintenance activities.
This complete refusal to store any sort of user data also absolves iVPN from taking influence from any DMCA notices. Since there is no data to start with, the DMCA notice will be pointless. The best bit is that iVPN’s policy makes it very clear that it will notify its customers if it is ever forced to change its policy.
This also holds true for any other changes in the legal framework that may impact the way iVPN functions.
iVPN is perhaps the only VPN service that releases a warrant canary. A warrant canary is an official press release of sort that is published by communication services to state if any official warrants have been received from any law enforcement authority. Upon release, these statements are time-stamped with the latest headlines in order to ensure legitimacy.
iVPN releases its warrant canary every month in the form of a cryptographically signed message that can also be viewed in plain text.
During the course of this review, I noticed that iVPN does not provide any additional services. While the service is clearly expanding and the introduction of additional services can be expected in the near future, it is also important to note that a specialized VPN service such as iVPN does not necessarily need to provide any additional services.
This iVPN review confirms that there is not a single reason because of which you should not go for iVPN. The prices might look a little steep if you compare them to other VPN service providers, but you will feel the difference the moment you try it out.
If you are sick and tired of unresolved issues with your current VPN service provider, then I recommend you take iVPN for a test drive (you always have the 7 day money back guarantee to keep you covered) and try the service. You will not be disappointed.