If you’ve heard of a VPN, then you’re probably well aware of the online freedom they provide users. From accessing Netflix in other countries to finding cheaper deals online, a VPN provides a gateway to websites all over the world.
A VPN is also a powerful tool in the fight against online surveillance and provides users with more anonymity online. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is constantly aware of what you’re doing online, as are many international governments.
The benefits of VPN software are overwhelming, but choosing a provider can be difficult given that there are countless VPNs available. Two of the most popular are ExpressVPN and IPVanish, so we’ve created a concise ExpressVPN vs IPVanish comparison to help you decide which of these two providers is the best.
ExpressVPN is known as one of the VPN industry titans, along with NordVPN, and more often than not tops the best VPN lists. Even though IPVanish isn’t as well-known, the provider is established as one of the better VPN companies and definitely gives ExpressVPN a run for its money.
Below we’ve taken an in-depth look at IPVanish vs ExpressVPN in areas such as security, features, and pricing.
You need a VPN service that takes your online privacy and security seriously. Fortunately, both IPVanish and ExpressVPN tick many boxes regarding security, although there are a few differences between the two providers.
When you use a VPN, your web traffic travels through an encrypted tunnel, giving it a layer of protection from third parties. ExpressVPN and IPVanish use 256-AES encryption. This is the highest standard of encryption, and it is almost impossible to decrypt.
ExpressVPN also uses an RSA-4096 key and SHA-512 HMAC authentication. As well as this, ExpressVPN employs super-secure protocols, including OpenVPN over TCP/UDP, L2TP/IPSec, IKEv2, and Lightway, which is ExpressVPN’s very own protocol. Lightway is extremely fast, very secure, and easy to maintain.
When it comes to IPVanish’s protocol options, the provider offers IKEv2, OpenVPN, L2TP, SSTP, and PPTP. However, subscribers can’t use protocols on every device. For example, SSTP and PPTP are only available on Windows computers.
ExpressVPN keeps no activity or connection logs. Express promises its users that it will never store their browsing data and real IP addresses, although the provider stores some information. The information that ExpressVPN does store includes connection dates, VPN server, data transferred per day, and apps used. As well as this, ExpressVPN will log details such as your name, email address, and billing information for account and payment reasons.
IPVanish also has a zero-logs policy and doesn’t log user traffic on its network, and unlike ExpressVPN doesn’t store connection dates or anything else related to your VPN session. The only information that IPVanish collects is email addresses, billing details, and personal details such as your name and street address.
A VPN’s jurisdiction is crucial since data retention laws can dictate whether your browsing data and other personal information are secure on the VPN’s network.
ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, which is well known for its excellent privacy laws. There are no mandatory data retention laws in place, which is good news for ExpressVPN customers. They needn’t worry that the provider is being forced to collect and hand information over to the BVI government.
However, IPVanish is based in the United States, a founding member of the Five Eyes. The Five Eyes is an international surveillance organization in which member states share information with one another. Moreover, the United States does not have any mandatory data protection laws, which is worrying for citizens. Fortunately, IPVanish doesn’t store logs, so it would have nothing to share with the US government or any other third party, even if it were forced to do so.
Extra security features, like a kill switch, are always a plus since they can ensure that you have more privacy at all times. ExpressVPN has the Network Lock, its version of the kill switch, which cuts off your internet connection if your VPN server goes down or the VPN connection gets interrupted. ExpressVPN’s kill switch is automatically enabled upon download, which we think is great.
IPVanish also has a kill switch, and it sprang into action several times while we were testing the app. A functional kill switch is essential since it guarantees that you won’t ever browse the web without VPN encryption.
As well as this, both providers have private DNS on their servers to protect your DNS requests and stop websites from learning a lot of information about your online actions. Moreover, as part of ExpressVPN’s TrustedServer technology, the provider uses RAM-only servers, which are better than hard-drive servers from a security point of view and are easier to wipe.
Using a VPN should provide you with an overall more enjoyable VPN experience. Many VPNs offer extra features so that you can access streaming sites around the world or allow you to customize your VPN use so that you can whitelist some apps and websites from the VPN encryption.
VPNs help you to access streaming services around the world. However, many streaming platforms like Netflix have strong VPN firewalls. Being able to circumvent streaming site blocks is an indication of the quality of a VPN. So, when it comes to IPVanish vs ExpressVPN, which VPN is best for streaming?
ExpressVPN is undoubtedly one of the best VPNs for streaming. Not only can the provider unblock Netflix in around 12 countries, but it can also provide access to Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, and HBO Max.
IPVanish offers access to Netflix and Disney+ in different countries but failed to get through to Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer.
Both providers allow P2P networking on their network, which is great news for torrenters. Not all VPN providers approve of torrenting since it brings with it some risks, so we’re glad to see that IPVanish and ExpressVPN do.
Both providers employ great security features like advanced encryption, a shared IP address to prevent activity from being linked to you, and an internet kill switch. Users of either VPN service can rest assured that their downloading activity will remain private at all times.
The standard for simultaneous connections in the VPN industry is five. ExpressVPN offers users five simultaneous connections on all of its subscription plans. However, IPVanish offers double that of ExpressVPN, with ten simultaneous connections included in every plan.
It’s impressive that IPVanish allows VPN protection on ten devices at the same time and is something that not every provider offers. It would be great to see ExpressVPN step up its game in this area, as many providers are starting to offer more than the industry-standard amount of five device connections.
Split tunneling is a useful feature and something that ExpressVPN and IPVanish both offer. You can decide which websites and apps will be tunneled outside your VPN encryption and through your regular network.
Both providers also have a quick connect option, enabling users to quickly connect to the closest and fastest VPN server. With IPVanish, you can also enable access to LAN traffic to communicate with other devices on the network.
There is unlimited bandwidth with ExpressVPN and IPVanish and no data caps, perfect for data-heavy activities.
The winner: Although ExpressVPN wins when it comes to streaming, the two providers are pretty evenly matched in terms of features like split tunneling and torrenting. IPVanish definitely scores higher points in terms of simultaneous connections and might be a better option for some users.
The number of servers in a VPN’s network can affect speed and the ability to bypass geo-restrictions worldwide. ExpressVPN has a decent-sized server network of 3000+ VPN servers. IPVanish also has a reasonably sized network, with over 1600 servers.
When it comes to server locations, ExpressVPN has many more than IPVanish, with 160 server locations compared to IPVanish’s 75. However, while the two providers have many locations in North America and Europe, they seem to lack server locations in Africa and the Middle East. Although this is common among VPNs, it is a shame.
While ExpressVPN makes use of virtual servers on its network, IPVanish claims to employ only physical servers. Virtual servers are placed in a location different than that of where they claim to be. This is often done for security reasons but can often lead to slower speeds. ExpressVPN lists its virtual servers on its website so that you can select a physical or virtual server.
The winner: In terms of size, ExpressVPN is the winner. However, depending on whether you’re more a fan of physical or virtual servers, you may want to consider the providers’ use of both types when choosing between them. We feel that virtual servers are great in terms of security but find physical servers better for speed and maintenance.
Pricing is an important aspect of VPNs, and users rightly so want to ensure that they are receiving excellent service in exchange for what they pay. Neither ExpressVPN nor IPVanish offers a free VPN version or free trial, which means that users have to part with cash to try out the services on offer.
IPVanish offers four different VPN pans depending on whether you purchase SugarSync storage along with the VPN. The provider usually offers a deal for the first year, increasing to the standard rate upon renewal.
ExpressVPN and IPVanish operate a 30-day money-back guarantee. The 30-day money-back guarantee is the normal length of a refund policy in the VPN industry, and the 30 days act as a kind of free trial.
However, users are charged upon sign-up, which means you need to cancel before the end of the 30 days to get your money back.
Since both VPNs store billing details, it’s worth finding out whether either offers anonymous payment options. You can pay for IPVanish with your debit or credit card or via PayPal.
ExpressVPN, on the other hand, accepts payments with popular credit cards and PayPal and allows customers to pay with Bitcoin. If you want more online anonymity and don’t want anyone to trace your VPN purchase, Bitcoin is a great way to go. Your purchase won’t show up on any online bank statements, ensuring giving you even more privacy.
The winner: Both VPNs fall at the more expensive end of the spectrum, although IPVanish is sightly cheaper. We’d argue that IPVanish is better, especially if you want to try out using a VPN for a month at first, as you’ll spend less than with ExpressVPN. However, if you want to pay with a cryptocurrency, ExpressVPN is the better choice.
Since every VPN provider offers multiple device connections, it makes sense that they would have support for various operating systems so you can enjoy the VPN across multiple devices.
ExpressVPN has dedicated VPN apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux. As well as these, you can install the VPN on your Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV Stick. There are also Chrome, Edge, and Firefox browser extensions.
As well as the above, you can configure ExpressVPN to a router with compatible firmware or purchase a preconfigured routers. ExpressVPN is the only provider that offers a dedicated app for its VPN routers to ensure users can more easily adjust the settings. The router VPN allows users to then connect the VPN to their gaming consoles and other internet-based objects.
IPVanish also has dedicated VPN apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux. You can also enjoy the VPN on your Chromebook or Fire TV, as well as enjoying the Firefox and Chrome browser extensions. There is also the option to put the VPN on your router, but unlike ExpressVPN, IPVanish doesn’t have a router app.
When it comes to ease of use, both providers offer user-friendly apps. ExpressVPN’s apps are a little more basic in terms of design but are well laid-out, allowing you to choose a server from a list or configure the VPN in the settings.
IPVanish offers easy-to-navigate apps with a separate server and favorites list. IPVanish might be a better choice for VPN nerds since it features a real-time speed graph and includes advanced configuration settings.
The winner: ExpressVPN is the winner if you want a VPN that has support for many different platforms, but IPVanish has a more user-friendly app.
A slow connection speed is one of the worst things imaginable for an avid internet user. If you use the internet for activities like streaming or torrenting, you’ll need fast speeds to ensure you experience no buffering or latency which can seriously interrupt what you’re doing online.
We ran some speed tests to see how ExpressVPN vs IPVanish measured up when it came to speed. Our baseline download speed was a fast 36Mbps, which is good enough to stream Netflix and watch YouTube videos at the same time.
We connected to an ExpressVPN US server first. Our ExpressVPN connection ran over the Lightway protocol, and we noticed immediate fast speeds. We visited Netflix and were not only able to get through to the site, but we experienced HD video quality and no buffering. We ran a test and saw our download speed was at 34Mbp, which was extremely fast.
We also experienced fast speeds with IPVanish. Connecting to a US-based server in their network delivered us with a download speed of 32Mbps which is also fast. We then tested the VPN on other servers in Europe and Asia, and our average download speeds were around 31Mbps which is excellent.
The winner: When it comes to speed, ExpressVPN has an advantage due to its Lightway protocol. However, IPVanish performed well in our speed tests, and we enjoyed super-fast connections. Overall, both VPN services are excellent choices if you’re looking for great speeds.
If you run into technical issues with the app or have a hard time accessing Netflix or other streaming services, you’ll need to get in touch with your VPN provider’s customer support.
ExpressVPN offers great customer service. Firstly, there is a vast support center on the website that features tutorials and answers to FAQs. There is also a 24/7 live chat that enables you to chat directly with a support agent. Alternatively, you can use the support ticket email option.
The customer service options are similar with IPVanish. IPVanish has a live chat, an extensive help section, and gives customers the option to get in touch via email. On top of this, IPVanish has a US telephone line available from 9 am-5 pm (PST), Monday to Friday. Not many VPNs offer telephone support as part of their customer service, so it is extremely impressive that IPVanish does.
The winner: IPVanish provides a wider range of support when it comes to customer service. If you’re a US resident or able to make a phone call to the US helpline, phone support is a massive advantage as it allows you to speak to someone in person and get direct responses.
After comparing ExpressVPN vs IPVanish, ExpressVPN wins. Firstly, ExpressVPN offers advanced security, an independently audited zero-logs policy, and is based in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction. While both providers offer excellent features such as split tunneling and provide support for multiple devices, ExpressVPN has a dedicated app for a router and can provide access to a large number of streaming services.
However, either VPN is a good option, and we would highly recommend both. Check out our individual reviews on ExpressVPN and IPVanish here to learn more about each provider.