IPVanish Releases VPN App for Amazon Fire TV

The team at IPVanish recently released their popular VPN app for Amazon Fire TV users. Whether you are using an Amazon Fire Stick or Fire TV box, the new IPVanish app will run without side loading or doing any extra work.  You can simply download the app from the Amazon website and push it to your device or grab it directly from your Fire TV. Protect your privacy and unblock geo-restrictions while using Fire TV. The new app is a great option for Kodi users as well. You can sign up for unlimited VPN on up to 5 devices from just $4.87 a month.

IPVanish for Fire TV

We ordered an Amazon Fire TV Stick for $39.99 and received it two days later with Prime shipping. It’s great to see the firestick back in stock since it was a 2-3 week backorder last month.  The Fire TV Stick couldn’t be any easier to use. Simply plug it into an HDMI input and a power outlet. It comes with everything you need to get started including a voice controlled remote. The first time you launch the firestick it will have you select a language and tie your Amazon account to the device. After that we went directly to the App section and found a blank screen. It stayed that way for about 20 minutes and then populated with the Amazon App store selections. We only mention this in case you run into the same issue. We tried syncing the device and a few other things but in the end it appears that it was a server issue.

There are two ways to get the new IPVanish VPN app on your device. If you are greeted by a blank apps screen the first time you launch the device, then we recommend opening the Amazon website on your phone and purchasing the app. The IPVanish app is free and you can choose which device to push it to. Alternatively you can find it via the Amazon App Store on your device. Either way will result in the app being loaded to your Fire TV. The user interface is very clean. You will immediately see the similarities to the other IPVanish apps. You can simply tap on the Connect button to connect to the best VPN server or select a server location. The app will let you choose a country and server location. It will even let you select a specific server if you want.

OverPlay Introduces New Servers, Software, and Mobile Apps

We’re excited to share some big news from the OverPlay team. They just released a slew of new software and a big network update. For the first time ever, OverPlay members have access to a network of 650+ servers in 50 countries along with SmartDNS with JetSwitch to quickly change regions. The network is available through the new OverPlay mobile apps and redesigned desktop client software. Select between AES 256, AES 128, and no encryption based on your needs at the time. Use our coupon to save 25% off OverPlay VPN and SmartDNS.

OverPlay mobile apps

Are you already an OverPlay member? If so you will want to download the latest client release. Doing so will give you immediate access to the new OverPlay network. How does it compare to the old network? For starters you now have access to 650+ servers instead of 48. Connect to any of 70+ server locations across 50 countries with the new client. The service is even more attractive for mobile users. In the past you had to manually set up the VPN. Now you can simply download the iOS or Android app and connect to any server. The user interface on the desktop and mobile apps is very similar so you can expect the same experience regardless of what device you are connecting from at the time. Simply tap connect to secure your data and protect your privacy.

The best way to see the new features is to experience them for yourself. You can sign up for SmartDNS to unblock content in other regions. This is good for watching content that would otherwise be geo-blocked. We recommend adding VPN since online privacy has never been more critical than in today’s world. This will also give you access to the new OverPlay network and software for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. A big thanks to the OverPlay team for offering our visitors a discount. Enjoy unlimited access to all the new servers and software features from just $6.25 a month using our VPNSP coupon.

IPVanish VPN v3 Software Review

The development team at IPVanish has been heads down on a new project this year. They have been quietly rebuilding their VPN client software from the ground up. Perhaps the most impressive feature of the new v3 release is the ease of use across platforms. The experience is the same regardless of whether you plan to connect using the Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android app. The user interface is very similar across all platforms. Windows users will also appreciate a new simple mode which is a compact version of the client.

Le’s jump right in and take a look at the new simple mode in IPVanish v3 for Windows.

IPVanish v3 simple mode

The compact version of the new IPVanish v3 app is our favorite. It’s easy enough for anyone to use, regardless of your level of technical knowledge. You can simply select a country and server location, or let the app choose the best option based on your current location.

In addition to the new simple mode, you can switch to the full mode for more flexibility. Best of all, you can switch between the two modes anytime. Any other settings you configure in the app will carry over as well.

IPVanish v3 for Windows

The home screen of the app gives you an in-depth view of your download and upload stats when connected to the network. It displays your visible IP address and location. You can choose a specific server location or let the software select the best server based on your current location.

While the home screen is the quickest way to connect to the IPVanish network, the app gives you more flexibility in choosing a server location. Here’s a screenshot of the server list.

IPVanish server list

You can sort the server list by country. response time, load, or favorite servers. There is also a tab to help you select a server from a map view. You can drill down even further by using the filter tab as shown below.

IPVanish server filter

You can start by filtering servers by protocol (PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN), country, and latency time. You can also enter a search string to further filter the server list.

That is all that most IPVanish users will need to know. If you want to modify settings in the client, they have a number of advanced features. We’ll start by looking at the connection settings.

IPVanish connection settings

The connection settings will help protect your privacy while connected to the VPN. You will want to enable DNS leak protection and IPv6 leak protection. The auto reconnect feature will put you back on the IPVanish network if your connection happens to drop. The kill switch option will ensure your computer stops communicating anytime the VPN drops. You can also block LAN traffic.

The other tab we want to take a look at is titled IP settings.

IPVanish IP settings

Once again, most users won’t need to make changes on this screen. However, you have the option to change your IP address every 45, 60, or 90 minutes. You can also customize the DNS servers used when connected to the network. The client will use IPVanish DNS servers by default. That’s the option we use. You can also set up 3rd party DNS to use other providers like Google or OpenDNS.

The best way to learn about the new IPVanish v3 apps is to try them out for yourself. Members can download the new software for free. Those who haven’t signed up yet can use our coupon code to save up to 63% off. You can enjoy unlimited IPVanish VPN access from just $4.54 a month. Give the new v3 software a try and let us know what you think. Don’t forget to test out the mobile apps as well.

PureVPN Introduces New Client Features

The PureVPN team has been hard at work adding new features to all of their VPN client apps.  Over the last few weeks they have released new versions of their custom VPN client software for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.  In a moment we’ll introduce you to some of the latest features.  We encourage everyone that’s already using PureVPN to upgrade to the latest apps.  If you haven’t had a chance to try the service lately, PureVPN is currently running a promotion.  You can sign up for a full year of unlimited VPN from just $4.99 a month.

PureVPN app features

The image above shows the new PureVPN iOS app in action.  As you can see, the app has a great looking user interface.  The image on the homescreen will change based on the server location you connect to.  Even better are the new features in the iOS app.  For starters you have access to split tunneling via the new On Demand VPN feature.  Select whether a URL is sent through the VPN or your ISP.  The new app also supports dedicated IP.  Members that have purchased the dedicated IP option will now have access with iOS.  As with all the new releases, the iOS app supports multiple languages.  You will notice one more new feature.  As shown above, you can select a mode in the latest iOS release.  This will help you find the right server and encryption level.

The PureVPN Android app has the same fresh new user interface.  You can select between languages including English, French, German, and Dutch.  The new Auto-Redial feature will help you reconnect to the service.  The feature is very helpful in that it will automatically reconnect right away if the VPN happens to drop.  You won’t have to look and see if you’re connected or go back into the app to reconnect.  Android users can use the new split tunneling feature to decide which traffic will flow through the VPN versus your ISP.  This gives you even more control.  The new app is available to download on the Google Play store.

The new Windows client supports split tunneling for both 32 and 64-bit environments.  Once again you can decide which traffic flows through your Internet service provider and what will pass through the encrypted VPN tunnel.  The Mac client adds SSTP protocol support.  Both desktop versions will let you switch between English, French, German, and Dutch.  You can also share feedback with the PureVPN team from directly within the new apps.  This is a good opportunity to share ideas for future updates.  As you can see PureVPN is very reactive to their users.  We look forward to seeing what features are coming next and will certainly share future updates with you as soon as they are released.  Follow us @VPNSP for the latest news and deals.

New Windows and Mac Apps for OverPlay

The team at OverPlay has been hard at work developing all new apps for their popular VPN service.  Earlier this afternoon they released OverPlay client version 3.0 for both Windows and Mac.  You’ll notice a big difference between the previous version and the new release.  For starters, version 3 has a fresh new look.  It’s easy enough for anyone to use, regardless of whether or not you have any technical background.  You can simply select a server location and connect.  You can also select between fast, balanced, and secure to set the level of OpenVPN encryption used in the app.  You will be well protected regardless of your choice.  New members can download the latest version from their site.  They have guides for both Windows and Mac to help you get started.  Those new to OverPlay can use our exclusive discount to save 25% off any VPN or SmartDNS plan.

OverPlay Windows v3

Whether you use the Windows version, Mac client, or both, the user interface is the same so you won’t have any problems connecting to the OverPlay network.  In fact you’ll see a difference in speed between the old and new apps, especially if you select speed under the connection preference.  In addition to the news apps, OverPlay has vastly expanded their network.  They went from 48 servers all the way up to 330 servers.  Better yet, they have over 200 servers between the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia.

OverPlay Mac v3

As you can see the Windows and Mac client look almost identical.  The only difference in our screenshots is the protocol option.  You can choose between speed, balanced, and secure.  The Windows app defaulted to balanced and the Mac app to secure.  You can easily slide the protocol to any of the three options from the app’s home screen.  Both of our images show the app connected to OverPlay.  That’s really all there is to it.  Pick your server location and click connect.  Within a few seconds you’ll connect to the server and your data will be encrypted.  Then when you’re done just click disconnect.  It doesn’t get any easier than that.  We’re excited to see the new apps from OverPlay.  Head on over to their site and download the latest release.

IPVanish VPN Kill Switch for Windows

The latest IPVanish Windows client v 2.1 includes some widely anticipated features including VPN kill switch and IPv6 leak protection.  The IPVanish team took their efforts to another level by adding a LAN blocking feature which also stops your system from communicating over the local area network if the VPN disconnects.  The combination of VPN kill switch, IPv6 leak protection, and LAN blocking puts IPVanish well ahead of most the competition.  Members can download the latest Windows client update from their site.  Those new to IPVanish can sign up through our VPNSP promotion to save up to 63% off with unlimited VPN from just $4.54 a month.

IPVanish Windows Kill Switch

As you can see from the image above, the new IPVanish client v2.1 for Windows has some new settings that you can enable.  Let’s take a closer look at each one and explain them in more detail.

  • Enable IPv6 Leak Protection – without getting too technical, this feature will keep you from leaking information when a site uses IPv6.  While IPv6 isn’t popular yet it’s still important to your privacy protection to enable this feature.  A lot of VPNs still lack leak protection for IPv6 which leaves you at risk.
  • Enable Kill Switch – we’re very happy to see IPVanish add a kill switch for Windows.  They now have the feature available for both Windows and Mac client users.  Enabling the kill switch will help protect your privacy by cutting off communication anytime the VPN drops until it reconnects.
  • Block all LAN Traffic – this takes the kill switch feature to another level and is the first time we’ve seen a VPN service implement LAN blocking.  By enabling the feature you can ensure your computer will stop communicating with the local area network anytime the VPN disconnects.  This will stop both incoming and outgoing communication over the LAN until a VPN connection is reestablished.

There you have it.  We’ve been using the new IPVanish Windows app for a week now.  We wanted to put it through some testing to make sure the new features were ready for prime time.  I’m happy to share that each one of them works as intended.  One hint for those who enable the kill switch and LAN blocking features.  If you disconnect from the VPN on purpose and notice that you can’t communicate online anymore that’s as intended.  This can throw some users off until they get use to it.  The solution is to either reconnect to the VPN or disable the features when you don’t plan on using them.  I recommend you enable IPv6 leak protection all the time and the others based on your needs.  Give the new features a try and let us know what you think @VPNSP.

IPVanish Adds Scramble Feature to Android App

The latest version of the IPVanish Android app has a new feature to help those in restrictive countries like China avoid censorship and surveillance.  The new scramble feature will help users encrypt their connection in countries that would normally detect OpenVPN traffic through deep packet inspection and terminate the connection.  You can download the latest release directly from Google Play.  It requires Android 4.0 or higher.  If you’re not already a member you can sign up for IPVanish through our site and save up to 63% off.  Enjoy unlimited access to their network of 500+ VPN servers in 60+ countries from just $4.54 a month.

IPVanish Android Scramble

To enable the new scramble feature simply go into the settings and move the slider to the right.  As stated in the client, the scramble setting will add obfuscation capability to OpenVPN, allowing it to bypass network traffic sensors which aim to detect usage of a VPN and block it.  The other option you have is between using TCP and UDP.  As IPVanish explains, UDP is typically faster and is best suited for those connecting to a server in your continent.  TCP adds error control and is best for connecting to servers in other continents.  For example, if you want to connect to a server in the United States from China it would be best to use TCP.

In addition to the new Android v1.5.7 release and scramble feature, the IPVanish team has been very busy expanding their top tier network this year.  In the first quarter they added over 100 servers in key locations around the world.  Their network is consistently the fastest in our speed tests so it’s great to see IPVanish continue to add servers to keep up with the growth of the service.  We’ll circle back with a post on their latest network expansion.  In the meantime you can learn more about the service and everything they have to offer in our IPVanish review or you can sign up and try it out for yourself.  You’ll have access to custom software for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.  All new members are covered by their 7 day money back guarantee.

First Look at ExpressVPN 5.0 for Windows

It may only be March, but the ExpressVPN development team has already packed in a full year of releases into the first quarter.  Since January they have launched new versions of the ExpressVPN apps for Windows and Mac.  Linux fans will be happy as well since ExpressVPN recently launched version 1.0 of their VPN client for Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, and CentOS.  Members have full access to all the new software.  Today we’re going to take a closer look at ExpressVPN 5.0 for Windows.  The new ExpressVPN 5.0 for Mac is very similar.  Want to test out the new apps for yourself?  I highly recommend ExpressVPN and am happy to share that you can sign up for unlimited VPN from just $8.32 a month during their current promotion.  All new members are covered by their 30 day money back guarantee so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

ExpressVPN 5.0 for Windows

Let’s jump right in to ExpressVPN 5.0 for Windows and take a look at the new interface.  As we mentioned earlier this month, we’re seeing easy of use as a trend in the latest VPN client updates.  So far this year we’ve seen new app releases from ExpressVPN and HideMyAss that take ease of use to another level.  Everyone will have their own opinion, but we like to see the simplified user interfaces.  It opens the service to a wider range of users.  For example, I feel comfortable recommending ExpressVPN to my parents now because I know they won’t be confused by the software.  That’s not the case with a lot of VPN providers.  We’ve tested plenty over the year’s that require a technical background to use.  Luckily that’s not the case with ExpressVPN.

The first set of screenshots above shows ExpressVPN 5.0 for Windows in action.  When you launch the app, it will recommend a server location.  In my case it recommended Chicago.  It couldn’t be any easier to encrypt your traffic.  Simply click the “Connect” button and wait a few seconds for the software to connect.  You’ll then be greeted by the picture on the right which shows a green locked symbol.  That’s how you know you’re protected.  That’s all there is to using the client for most users.  You don’t have to do anything else.  Of course you can always switch server locations.  Let’s tale a look at how to switch servers.

ExpressVPN location picker

The ExpressVPN 5.0 client for Windows and Mac has a built-in location picker.  Click on the three dot icon in the upper right hand corner of the client to open the menu and then select “location picker” to see the screen above.  You can use this screen to easily select any of the 100+ server locations that ExpressVPN offers.  You have some sorting option to simplify the process even more.  By default the client will recommend servers based on your current location.  You can also choose to sort the server location list by region or by country name.

ExpressVPN speed test

Want to find the fastest server location?  The new ExpressVPN 5.0 for Windows and Mac will help by testing the performance of each location.  You can use the speed test to find the best server by clicking on the “Run Test” button.  It will take 3-5 minutes for the test to complete.  I suggest you run a speed test the first time you launch the new client and then again if you connect from a different region.  As you can see their results will show a speed index, latency, and download speed.  I like the speed index as it gives you a good indication of the fastest server.  In the case of the speed index, the larger the number the faster you can expect the connection to be on that server.  As you can see Atlanta is my recommended server based on the speed index.

Power users will find some advanced features under the hood as well.  You can enable the network lock which acts as an Internet kill switch to help protect your privacy in case the VPN connection drops.  You can also launch ExpressVPN at launch and connect to the last location automatically.  I recommend you use the ExpressVPN DNS servers when connected which is the default setting.  This will help you avoid DNS leaks.  You can also switch between OpenVPN (UDP & TCP), L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, and SSTP protocols.  We’ll be updating our ExpressVPN review later this week with a full rundown of the features in the new ExpressVPN 5.0 for Windows.  In the meantime sign up for an account from just $8.32 a month and test the new app for yourself.  Let us know what you think @VPNSP.  I think you’ll be quite impressed.

VPN Trend for 2016 : Ease of Use

Which VPN is the easiest to use?  That’s a popular questions among first time VPN users and those who don’t want to hassle with extra steps in configuring and connecting to a VPN.  In the past our list of “easy to use VPNs” was short.  That’s changing in 2016 as a number of VPN services focus on ease of use.  We’ve already seen client updates from popular VPN services that are focused on simple user interfaces.

Let’s take a look at ExpressVPN and HideMyAss.  Both VPN providers released new VPN software in February.  ExpressVPN v5 and the HMA Pro VPN client v3 beta are available to members so check them out for yourself.  Let’s take a look at the new user interface compared to the older versions of each client.

ExpressVPN (old version)

ExpressVPN client version 3

ExpressVPN (new version 5 release)

ExpressVPN client version 5

HideMyAss (old version)

HMAA Pro client version 2

HideMyAss (new version 3 beta)

HMAA Pro client version 3 beta

As you can see both ExpressVPN and HideMyAss have gone to a more streamlined user interface.  In doing so they are opening their service to a wider range of users.  The days of having to configure the OpenVPN client to connect to VPN services is coming to an end.  There will still be a subset of users who prefer open source software and who don’t mind taking the extra steps to configure and use it.  The great news is that we’re seeing more VPNs put the choice in the user’s hands.  A majority of users will choose the custom apps.

Less is more seems to be a common theme in the new VPN client releases.  As the popularity of VPN continues to increase, ease of use is an area that can help providers like ExpressVPN and HMA stand out.  We look forward to seeing what other top VPNs have to offer as the year moves forward.  Has your VPN moved toward a more user friendly client interface?  If so please send us a before and after screenshot so we can add them to our post.  We look forward to sharing more client updates in the weeks to come.

You can contact us @VPNSP with any questions or feedback.  We’d love to know what you think.  Are you looking forward to VPN client’s that are easier to use or do you prefer more advanced features?  That’s not to say you can’t have both but ease of use normally has some trade offs for advanced users.  Those with more technical knowledge can still use popular VPNs to secure your entire network through a router.  We wouldn’t expect that to change.  The new easy to use software will help more users add privacy protection which is a win / win.

First Look at New HMA Pro VPN Client

The HMA team has been hard at work developing new Windows and Mac apps.  We’re excited to share a first look at their Windows client beta.  We just downloaded the software earlier today so we haven’t had a lot of time to put it through the paces yet.  Before we do we wanted to share the new user interface.  It’s very streamlined and easy to use compared to the old HMA client software.  Want to try it for yourself?  If so you can sign up for HMA from just $6.55 a month during their current promotion.  After you subscribe to HideMyAss the next step is to visit their beta page.  From there you can download and start using the new Windows or Mac client right away.

HMA Windows VPN client version 3

From left to right the images above show the log in screen followed by the main interface, and finally a screenshot of the client connecting to the server we chose in Atalanta.  Anyone who has experience with HideMyAss will notice the drastic difference between the new app and the old client software.  The new app is definitely easier to use.  It lacks the advanced features in older versions.  Perhaps some of them will be added as the beta moves forward.  For now you can simply click on the server location to select from any HMA server location.  You don’t have the option to choose the specific server anymore but the app makes it easy to browse and search for server locations.  You can also switch servers and IP addresses anytime.

I hope you enjoyed our first look at the new HMA client beta version 3.  We look forward to putting it through the paces in the days to come.  By all means we encourage you to do the same.  Just remember the client is in beta so you can anticipate some hick ups along the way.  Be patient and share any feedback with the HMA team.  For those who prefer a more technical interface, HMA still supports the previous version.  Those new to HMA that want to protect your online privacy and unblock content will find the new app very easy to use.

Follow us @VPNSP for the latest VPN news and deals.  Let us know what you think of the new HMA app.