- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- StrongVPN (http://strongvpn.com/)
- IVPN (http://www.ivpn.net/)
- Hotspot Shield (http://hotspotshield.com/)
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.
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 Customer Success Professional for Ultimate Software in Santa Ana, California.