Ivacy is a low-cost VPN that will unblock websites, let you access region-locked content, and safely download files. It’s fairly basic overall, but for the price – if you’re happy to subscribe for five years – it’s a great budget option.
Ivacy is a Singapore-based VPN provider that’s been running since 2007, and offers subscribers encrypted Internet access for a very attractive price.
For next to nothing (on a five-year deal, at least), you’ll be able to browse the internet with more privacy, access region-locked content, and download files without being spied on.
The interface makes accessing specific services from regional servers very easy – all it takes to get connected is a couple of clicks.
There’s limited support for the newer WireGuard protocol as well, which promises faster, more stable VPN connections.
Features & apps
Dedicated apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android
WireGuard supported on Windows, iOS, and Android only, for now
P2P downloads supported from selected servers
Talking of servers, there are 54 countries listed in the apps. Some of these – UK, US, Australia, Canada, and Greece – allow you to pick specific cities, but it’s pretty limited in the UK and Greece, as your options are London and Manchester, and Athens and Thessaloniki, respectively. You get more choice in the other countries, which give you the option to pick from servers in three (Canada), four (Australia), and thirteen (United States) cities.
Ivacy’s server list claims there are over 5700 servers in more than 100 locations, but if you tot up the numbers of locations, you’ll see 75 – this is because, according to Ivacy’s live chat support, “We have multiple servers behind each server address” and some server addresses are virtual.
Seven countries have a ‘V’ next to their name to indicate that they’re virtual locations, which means the servers are not physically present in those countries, but give out IP addresses that make you appear to be located there.
Whatever you need a VPN for, Ivacy covers a large part of the world.
Foundry / Thomas Newton
There are dedicated Ivacy apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, and while they feature slightly different settings and designs, they all broadly do the same thing, and give you access to the same range of servers.
While there are no apps for Raspberry Pi, Roku, Apple TV, and other platforms, there are extensive set-up guides available on Ivacy’s site. Just remember that as with all devices that don’t natively support a VPN, Ivacy doesn’t have a magic solution.
Typically, workarounds require you to share the internet connection from your PC or Mac, or using a router that supports VPN connections.
The apps are reasonably easy to navigate, even if they look a bit old-hat. It’s unusual to see options for ‘Secure Download’, ‘Smart Connect’, ‘Streaming’ and ‘Unblocking’ because most VPN providers have ditched the use cases and just work regardless of what you want to do. It is handy for streaming services, though.
Using the Secure Download option, you have the option of enabling an extra layer of “advanced server-level virus and malware protection”, which scans anything you download. We can’t verify how this works – Ivacy spokespeople declined to explain when asked.
Furthermore, with the setting turned on, only the following locations become available:
Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russia, Sweden
You should also note that P2P is only available from the following locations with Ivacy:
These points aside, I had no problems downloading torrent files.
Foundry / Thomas Newton
If you want the fastest possible connection, that’s what the Smart Connect option is for. None of the apps show any ping information about each server nor how busy they are, but you can mark specific countries and cities as favourites.
The Streaming menu is handy, as it is packed with a list of services including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, Hulu, and a host of others. Click on one of those and Ivacy will automatically connect to the most appropriate server and then offer to launch the app (or open a browser at the service’s homepage), which is a nice timesaver. The Unblocking tool largely does the same thing, except that it’s for general web use, and won’t select a server that’s geared towards streaming.
On the subject of streaming, now is a good time to mention Split Tunnelling. Currently only available on the Windows and Android apps, this lets you decide which apps use the VPN connection and which are routed via your ISP as normal – and therefore aren’t subject to any slowdown caused by the VPN connection, or any other complications.
Whatever you need a VPN for, Ivacy lets you pick from a number of protocols, including relative newcomer WireGuard.
At the time of writing, it’s only the Windows, iOS, and Android Ivacy apps which support WireGuard. It’s coming to the macOS app at some point later in 2023 – there is no firmer ETA than that.
Mathilde Vicente / Foundry
As well as WireGuard, you can pick from IKEV2, OpenVPN (TCP and UDP), and the older L2TP encryption protocol, on the Windows app.
The macOS app currently just gives you IPSEC and IKEV, while on iOS, you get TCP, UPD, IKEV, IPSEC, and WireGuard.
Foundry / Thomas Newton
The Android version lets you pick from TCP, UDP, IKEV, and WireGuard.
A quirk of using WireGuard as your protocol is that the extra download scanning tool you get with the Secure Downloads feature can’t be turned on. It will, however, work with TCP, UPD, or IKEV enabled. It’s unclear if this is due to the fact that WireGuard works within the kernel of a VPN provider’s servers, and so with it activated, you’re getting the benefit of “advanced server-level virus and malware protection” anyway – no explanation was forthcoming from Ivacy itself.
The advanced protection feature also won’t work if you have the older L2TP protocol enabled, though we recommend you don’t use this.
Ivacy was able to unblock US Netflix without a hitch, connecting to the service in a matter of seconds, and loading episodes of The Great British Baking Show (it’s what they call Bake Off across the pond), in HD very quickly.
Likewise, it served up BBC iPlayer and ITV X streams in no time at all. I was even able to use it to watch content on the RTÉ Player website and mobile apps. This streaming service is notoriously hard to access from outside the Republic of Ireland, so the fact that I could a) access the site b) get it to play content without the usual ‘you appear to be using a proxy’ message flashing up was a minor miracle.
When you’re paying rock-bottom prices, you can’t expect too much from a VPN and even with WireGuard, Ivacy doesn’t challenge the fastest VPN services.
Download speeds are fine for most people, although if you have gigabit fibre connection (as I do) speeds will take a huge hit.
But with 200-400Mbps from the servers we tested, it’s certainly acceptable for the price.
It’s a different story with upload speeds. These were very poor. I ran tests from the UK but aside from the local London server, they were in single digits.
London – UK
Los Angeles – US
Melbourne – Australia
Tokyo – Japan
Download and upload speeds are Mbps, all tests run using WireGuard except Auto.
Speeds from the closest UK server varied, with a lower speed of 198Mbps when forcing Ivacy to use WireGuard and a much higher one when Auto protocol was selected. Ping times increased a lot for connections to Japan and Australia – not that surprising – but download speeds were decent.
Unlike the last time I checked, when Smart Connect’s Automatic location picked a noticeably slower server in France, this time it more sensibly opted for a UK one.
Obviously, as with all VPN services, those speeds will vary depending on your location, time of day, day of week and other factors.
At no point during testing was there any problem with IP or DNS leaks – although IP/DNS leak protection is disabled by default in the Windows app, which is strange, but easily fixable.
Foundry / Thomas Newton
Likewise, on the Windows app, the VPN kill switch – the feature that disconnects your device from the Internet should the VPN disconnect, thereby preventing data leaks – is turned off by default. The killswitch is fairly basic, you can have it on, or off, and that’s it.
There currently isn’t a kill switch on the macOS version of the Ivacy app. One is in the works, but there’s no ETA yet.
Mathilde Vicente / Foundry
Neither of the mobile apps feature a killswitch either – the Android one used to, but as of the most recent version (7.0.5) this feature is absent.
What you do get instead is the ability to select an ‘Always on’ connection. With this enabled, in the event of a disconnection, all non-VPN traffic is blocked, so you have some measure of protection against data leaks. This feature can’t be running at the same time as split tunneling, however.
None of the apps feature the option to automatically start a VPN session when connected to an unsecure Wi-Fi network, and nor can you build a whitelist of trusted networks – you might therefore want to have Ivacy running in tandem with a dedicated security suite.
Ivacy states that it does not monitor traffic or collect connection logs. The only data it claims to keep is bare minimum stuff, like your name, email address, and payment information, and crash report data. For the truly privacy-conscious, there’s the option to pay in cryptocurrencies (you can pay via Bitpay or Coingate), as well as more traditional methods.
Ivacy says that it only keeps what’s necessary, but stresses that no “identifiable information or user data like DNS requests, traffic details or IP addresses” are harvested, adding:
“The only thing known are the countries where users are originating from, which once again has no information of value.”
Price & subscriptions
Ivacy costs US$9.95/month (~£7.30 / AU$14.69) but as is often the case with VPN subscriptions, you can save a lot if you buy a one-year or five-year subscription.
The single-year deal costs $47.76 (~£36.91 / AU$70.50), equivalent to $3.99/month (~£3.08 / AU$5.89).
Naturally, the 5-year deal is even better, costing $60 up front (~£46.37 / AU$88.57), equivalent to $1/month (~£0.77 / AU$1.48).
All subscriptions let you use the service on up to 10 devices.
For one-month subscriptions there’s a seven-day refund period, but a 30-day period for longer subscriptions. Note that if you use an anonymous payment method, the refund policy doesn’t apply.
For alternatives check out our roundup of the best VPN services.
Ivacy is good value for money. It might not be the best VPN, but it is cheap and offers easy access to Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Speeds, while not the fastest we’ve tested, should be good enough for most people (as long as you don’t need to upload large files to countries far away), and there’s 24/7 support available, if you need it.
One of the main issues is inconsistent features across platforms. The macOS app is particularly lacking in features (no killswitch, no WireGuard support) compared to its Windows counterpart, but new features and updates are in the pipeline. But those who really care about privacy will want to choose a VPN has has been independently audited, ideally recently.
But if you just mainly want a VPN for unblocking region-locked content and extra security when you’re on the go, then Ivacy gives you that, for a not a lot of money.