Networking

Product Review: Ivacy VPN provider

For those who need a quick way to secure an Internet connection over any unencrypted wireless hotspot, Ivacy VPN has got your back.

System requirements

  • Operating systems: Windows only for the Ivacy Monitor. Ivacy Browser Extension for Firefox and Chrome is compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux
  • Cost: Varies depending on level of service; accepts PayPal
  • More info: http://ivacy.com
UPDATE: It has come to my attention from an astute commenter below that the Ivacy VPN site has some serious issues with funding new accounts. I am advising everyone to hold off on using this service until I investigate the root cause of concern involving accounts that won't activate. Because my account already had funds, I never experienced the anomaly personally. My sincerest apologies to anyone who has been inconvenienced. UPDATE 2: A spokesperson from Digital October, the owner of Ivacy VPN, has come out with a sincere apology and an offer to those affected by the account funding bug. Please contact the Ivacy VPN team at support@ivacy.com and let them know you were affected so that they can issue you credit towards your account.

Who's it for?

Ivacy VPN is a service designed for computer road warriors who might surf the net at coffee shops or need to circumvent blocks imposed by oppressive governments or restrictive ISPs.

What problem does it solve?

Ivacy VPN grants any user the ability to encrypt their Internet traffic so as to prevent unsolicited snooping from outsiders. Such a service is useful for insecure wireless hotspots or for thwarting Internet access restrictions or outright censorship.

Standout features

  • Easy to use: No more having to manually configure your network to tunnel network traffic. Simply launch the Ivacy Monitor application (or turn on the Ivacy browser extension in Firefox or Chrome) and you have a new secure connection.
  • Very cost effective: If all you ever need to do is send an occasional email or look at a few simple websites, the traffic-based plan is just for you, with prices as low as one euro a year. If, however, you intend on downloading large amounts of data or heavy surfing, there are other plans that can better accommodate higher levels of Internet traffic.
  • Simple installation: Unlike other VPN applications that install special drivers and manipulate other system files, the Ivacy VPN tool is entirely self-contained and can even be used without administrator privileges on the host system.
  • Multi-protocol support (Ivacy Monitor only): Supports the usual suspects for VPN encryption, such as PPTP and IPsec, as well as the more elusive HTTP tunneling option. If one option doesn't work, simply pick a different protocol from the list and reconnect.
  • Responsive tech support: Having connection difficulties? The Ivacy staff is always helpful and will respond to ticket requests within 24 hours or less.

What's wrong?

  • No US-based node: If low latencies are a major concern, this service might not be for you if you are a resident of the United States. The only nodes for the VPN are available in the UK, Holland, and Russia. Also, if you want to access sites region-locked to the United States, such as Hulu, this service won't help you either.
  • Speeds can be inconsistent: As with any VPN service, there are bound to be irregularities with speed as the data is being routed through a node before reaching its destination.
  • Might require whitelisting: If your connection is slow or not working at all, you might have to go through the extra step of allowing the application access through your Internet security software so that data can route properly.

Competitive products

The bottom line

When you need to secure your Internet connection away from prying eyes and hackers, Ivacy VPN offers a great solution for the security conscious among us. With its simple setup and one-click connect process, it makes security less of a hassle.

Also read:

About

An avid technology writer and an IT guru, Matthew is here to help bring the best in software, hardware and the web to the collective consciousness of TechRepublic's readership. In addition to writing for TechRepublic, Matthew currently works as a Cus...

20 comments
mzbcracker2
mzbcracker2

i live in a country in which Internet is strongly censored by government firewalls and lots of social media/political/... websites are filtered and access to them are denied.they also use other methods to prevent us from surfing the web freely.many Security protocols like PPTP and L2TP and programs like OpenVPN are denied (by government) and do not usually work.

facebook/twitter/youtube/google plus/..... are other examples of websites that are filtered in here.

lately i use Ivacy  that has a feature called HTUN  which is a method developed by Ivacy that really works in here.this is the only stable working choice that works here now(and hope it will in the future).

some say it might be alittle slow.but i'm pleased with it.and i urge the ivacy to continue their great job specially for poor users who are behind Government firewalls.i use "1 euro/ 1 year" package that really fits me.because in my country many news websites and political websites are filtered and sometimes yahoo mail and gmail are filtered or  the internet speed for yahoo mail and gmail and also google search engine is slowed down intentionally by government(i want to mention that 50MB daily traffic is really enough for use in countries like mine for censored web).

so  the  "1 euro/ 1 year" really fits the use of users in countries in which internet is censored.other thing is that in countries like mine the economy is bad so because of inflation in economy i have to pay thousands for 1 dollar .i mean 1 dollar here is thousands in our currency in our country.so i urge the ivacy company to continue the "1 euro/ 1 year"  package both because of the need in here and the money so that web can afford it.

shayne.mcc
shayne.mcc

I've tried ivacy, be in all honestly when services like www.vpnsecure.me are offering servers in over 30 countries and the speed of the service is actually very quick I wouldn't go anywhere else to be honest. I figured I would leave this comment since it appears many people complain about problems with vpn service and i've never ever had a problem with vpnsecure

fredsarran
fredsarran

I took 1 month with Ivacy, VPN always disconnecting, filed in 2 support request and no answer. I now requested a full refund, but still not answer.

BentLightyear
BentLightyear

I live in Costa Rica and it's common here to use VPNs to access sites restricted to US-only traffic (e.g., Hulu). Perhaps, if SOPA/PIPA passes, people in the US will have to start using VPNs to go outside the USA to get to Wikipedia or YouTube. I wonder if the UK, Holland, and Russia will eventually follow along with their own version of China-ware.

doveman
doveman

I recall when looking at VPN services like this previously, that most of them still leak DNS lookups. Has Ivacy (or any of the others) sorted this out now? Also, seems a bit dishonest on their "Why use VPN" page to talk about being able to access Hulu from China. Perhaps that page should be re-titled "Why use an alternative VPN service"!

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

Although I have used Ivacy VPN for a few years and found it to be excellent for my needs, it does have that limitation of not offering a node within the US. Of course as the sage adage goes, "You get what you pay for." Needless to say, if anyone is looking for a US-based VPN solution and isn't on a tight budget, StrongVPN (linked in the Competitive Products section of this posting) is also an excellent choice. However, their services do command a higher price than Ivacy VPN does. In the end, it's all a matter of weighing your needs with the pros and cons of said service, then choosing accordingly. DISCLOSURE: I am the author of this article.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Do you use some sort of VPN when you are on the road? Which is your favorite? Which ones have your tried? What makes one VPN application better than another?

Ivacy Support
Ivacy Support

Hello Fredsarran, Thank you for your comment. We fixed your problem. Please check your email. Best regards, Ivacy Team

vaddimka
vaddimka

DNS leakage is strictly Windows 'feature', you wouldn't get it on MacOS for example. Still, you can avoid DNS leakage on Windows by using 'Secure Launch' option in Ivacy Monitor. It also cuts internet for those applications if VPN goes down.

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

doveman, Ivacy did at one point in time have a US node, but they got rid of it several months ago during the site and service restructuring that Ivacy went through. I suspect they simply copy and pasted info from the old Ivacy site without giving it another second to check the information's accuracy. :/

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

Thank you for that suggestion Michael! I forgot about WiTopia. I have used them before as well and they are quite good for a US VPN. Only thing is, I think Hulu has them blacklisted.

tartechrepublic
tartechrepublic

I tried the 1Euro/1Year offer. Can't get it to work. Every day I have a zero balance even though I haven't used it. They have not responded to any of my support questions. My balance always says zero bytes, 738 days (I guess the years are longerin the UK).

vaddimka
vaddimka

Actually, they have US node now. And Hulu is working ok (so far).

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

At any rate tartechrepublic, please let me know if issues persist. I will say that my account was created before the relatively recent Ivacy site overhaul. I am beginning to wonder if new users are having issues getting things to work because the new site has broken parts to it? Since my account is several years old with a balance, I never did accurately test this part. Also, I noticed that the support forums that Ivacy used to have seem to no longer exist. This is what I used to get my support for the service before and I didn't realize that was taken down. I might have to issue a partial retraction on this article. I like to stand by the quality of my articles and ensure that I don't lead people down the wrong path.

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

That's interesting. I have a balance and my account works fine. I'm terribly sorry you are having issues with your account. I'll try and see if I can get the service owner to opine on this issue. Perhaps there's a billing glitch?

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

I just had a quick conversation with one of the reps who runs the service. If you email support@ivacy.com, let them know about your situation so that they can properly credit your account and correct the issues.

Matt Nawrocki
Matt Nawrocki

Thanks for letting me know. At any rate, consider filing a claim with Paypal or initiate a credit card chargeback if you deem it necessary. I really wish I knew what was causing this irritating conundrum. I'll keep my readers posted on any further updates to this situation. I have a horrible feeling they seriously broke parts of their website with the recent upgrades they had. I even created a brand new account from scratch to see what would happen if I had no balance and had to add funds to the service. Needless to say, I have experienced the exact same issues that you did. WiTopia is a solid alternative to try in the meantime. I'm sorry about the inconvenience you experienced.

tartechrepublic
tartechrepublic

Even though I have sent nothing through ivacy, my account balance is 0.0GB.The number of days left has changed from 738 to736 however, so at least the day counting works. I have also not had responses to any of my four notes to customer support, theoldest one being 7 days old.

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