IVPN Pro review | PCWorld

IVPN in brief:

  • P2P allowed: Yes
  • Business location: Gibraltar
  • Number of servers: 76
  • Number of country locations: 32
  • Cost: $100 per year
  • VPN protocol: WireGuard
  • Data encryption: ChaCha20
  • Data authentication: Poly1305
  • Handshake: ECDH/curve25519

One of the best features of Mullvad, our favorite VPN at this writing, is that it doesn’t require an email address or password to subscribe. Instead, it auto-generates an account name that works as your one and only login. It’s about as anonymous as you can get for account creation, and now another VPN service is following suit. Gibraltar-based IVPN recently added the feature as part of a number of changes.

Note: This review is part of our best VPNs roundup. Go there for details about competing products and how we tested them.

Features and services

IVPN, like other services, used to require an email address and password to sign up. Now, however, you land on the site, click Generate your account, and IVPN creates a random account number (at this writing, 13 digits beginning with an “i”). Then it’s just a matter of adding time to that account number with payments via credit card, PayPal, Bitcoin, Monero, or cash.

ivpndoublepanel IDG

IVPN with an active connection.

The downside to this approach is that if someone were to uncover your account number they would be able to freely use your account since there’s no password. So you do have to treat your account number with the same protection and care you would use with a password login. To help keep your account number secret IVPN also creates a “safe reference ID” in addition to the account number. This is an ID you can use when dealing with IVPN support staff without having to reveal your account login. It’s an excellent approach, and I wish more VPN services would choose this method over the current email address and password model.

Another change is that IVPN defaults to using the WireGuard protocol on Windows. IVPN was one of the first services, if not the first, to roll out an experimental WireGuard for Windows implementation.

As for the desktop application, IVPN has changed the look quite a bit. When you first open it, IVPN for Windows shows two panels: a larger interactive map panel on the right and controls on the left. Clicking the icon with two arrows facing each other collapses the map for a single-panel view that is closer to what IVPN had before.

Last time we looked at IVPN, it had a large connect/disconnect button that took up most of the screen. This has been replaced by a smaller connect/disconnect slider at the top of the panel, which leaves more room for various controls such as a location selector, IVPN’s “firewall” that makes sure all traffic from the PC is routed through the VPN, an anti-tracking feature, and the current protocol in use.

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IVPN offers a choice between the WireGuard and OpenVPN protocols.

Even though the default protocol is WireGuard you can choose to use OpenVPN instead if you prefer. WireGuard keys are rotated every day by default, but you can choose to rotate them less often, up to a maximum 30 days.

The anti-tracker feature is on by default, which blocks ads, malicious websites, and third-party trackers. This is all done on the server side via DNS blocking. If you’d rather not use this feature it is simple to turn off. IVPN also provides an option for its anti-tracker called “hardcore mode” in the settings. This feature blocks all trackers from Facebook and Google. IVPN warns that numerous services may not work or work as well in hardcore mode including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google search, and Gmail.

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