When the average Internet user starts comparing VPN providers, one of the first few things that look at is price and the number of VPN servers that are available to connect to. But the number of servers a provider operates isn’t necessarily indicative of good performance. You also need to need to consider the number of IP addresses they have.
For those of you who already know what IP addresses are and how they work, feel free to skip this section. For the rest of you, understand that an IP address is a globally unique address that’s used to iniquely identify computers. For instance, if your ISP leased you the address 188.8.131.52, I would be able to deduce that your connection is originating from Tokyo, Japan, since that’s where this specific block of contiguous addresses is leased.
Furthermore, I might even be able to track your online activities with sophisticated tools. But when using a VPN, your IP address is masked with the IP address of your VPN server. In effect, it will act like a middle man, and make web request on your behalf using its own IP address. That way, the destination web server can’t ever see your true unique IP address.
Naturally, it’s a great advantage to use a VPN service with larger banks of IP addresses, for reasons we’ll discuss next.
IP Addresses Are a Depleted and Finite Resource
The Internet has been running out of IP addresses for years now. The current and most prevalent Internet protocol is still IPv4. However, IPv6 was created (and has been implemented on a lot of networks) to overcome the shortcomings of IPv4’s shortage of unique addresses. But since IPv4 is still the king of the net, you’ll find that it’s fairly uncommon for VPN services to have massive banks of IP addresses.
To help conserve addresses and increase anonymity, VPN providers offer shared IP addresses. A shared IP address makes it virtually impossible to record which computer made requests to specific web servers without log files (and most providers won’t record your online activities). So share IP addresses are, in part, a security benefit. But there’s one problem.
Some services have started trying to block the use of VPN services so people abroad can’t access their geo-restricted content. One of the problems with IP addresses is that they’re divvied up in contiguous blocks based on geographic location. That makes it possible for an online service such as Hulu (they’re probably the most stringent about blocking VPN services) to implement connection policies disallow connections from other countries.
But they can’t possibly hope to block 100% of every VPN service’s IP addresses, and I’ll tell you why. It’s an endless game of cat and mouse. VPN providers are constantly refining their network, adding IP addresses to existing servers, and bringing new servers online. Furthermore, the complete set of any VPN service’s IP addresses are split into different blocks dependent upon where the physically operate servers.
As such, if you find that your VPN’s IP address is blocked by a media server like netflix, you can simply switch to another server in the same geograhic region and attempt to connect again. But the more IP addresses a VPN provider has, the smaller the chances of a server blocking your connection.
Furthermore, the more IP addresses you have at your disposal increases your ability to spoof your geographic location. There is usually a correlation between how many IP addresses a VPN service will lease within a country and the number of cities where they host servers. Last but not least, having more IP addresses increases the chances that your provider will offer dedicated IP addresses. It’s not uncommon for young, new, green VPN services to lack a dedicated IP address option, because they are trying to serve as many connections with a limited number of shared IP’s.
With that said, let’s take a look at the best VPNs with the most IP addresses.
VyprVPN has a massive bank of more than 200,000 IP addresses that are spread out among 50 different countries. The parent company who owns VyprVPN, which is Golden Frog, is based out of Switzerland. The Pro version of their service costs $6.25 per month, though they do offer a no-risk free trial of their service.
Furthermore, VyprVPN’s software includes a per-application tunnel routing feature, as well as a VPN kill-switch. The only thing I really don’t like about their service is that they only permit 2 simultaneous connections with the Pro Version.
IPVanish doesn’t come close to having as many IP addresses as VyprVPN, though they have far more than the average provider. To date, they have over 40,000 IPs on 500+ servers in 60+ countries. They cost roughly the same as VyprVPN at $6.49 a month, though IPVanish only has a 7-day money back guarantee instead of a free trial.
However, they do permit up to 5 simultaneous connections per account, and offer VPN connections using PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, and OpenVPN. Other notable features of their service include allowance for Bit Torrent traffic, no traffic logging, and DNS leak protection.
ibVPN has over 2500 VPNs, though they claim they are always growing their network. They likely have more for dedicated IP addresses; that is, the 2500 IP addresses are all shared. Currently, they host servers in 63 locations in 39 countries, and they do have a free trial of their service. You can get their service for $4.84 a month, and they even have a 15-day free trial. Last but not least, ibVPN allows up to 3 simultaneous connections with their family plan.
ExpressVPN doesn’t advertise how many IP addresses they have on their website, though it’s a reasonable assumption that it’s more than the average provider based on the size of their network of VPN servers. To date they operate servers in 87 countries around the world. In addition, ExpressVPN will permit each account up to 3 simultaneous connections.
They don’t have a free trial, but instead offer a 30-day money back guarantee. Furthermore, they’re based out of the British Virigin Islands, so you won’t have to worry about the United States NSA. Last but not least, note that they provide server connections using OpenVPN, SSTP, L2TP, and PPTP.
Private Internet Access VPN
PIA VPN has over 40,000 IP addresses spread out across some 3,100 servers in 26 countries, and they’re one of the cheapest options available. You can get their service for as little as $3.33 per month with an annual subscription, and they even allow up to 5 simultaneous connections per account.
I think their software client could use a few improvements, but it does come with a DNS leak protection feature, and the interface is extremely easy to use. Last but not least, note that PIA VPN does allow P2P and Bit Torrent connections on their servers.
It would be nice if every VPN service provider posted lists of their blocks of IP addresses. In fact, many services used to post that information on their websites. Unfortunately, doing so made it a lot easier for other websites and services to block incoming connections from those IP addresses, so that content was taken down.
If you’re looking for the provider who simply has the most IP addresses, I’d recommend going with VyprVPN. However, all of the aforementioned servers have larger networks of servers and more IP addresses than the average provider.