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IPVanish or ExpressVPN, which one should you pick? Both essentially do the same thing and you will have seen ads for both providers on YouTube. Yet they don’t seem so familiar when compared side by side and there is one winner. Read my IPVanish and ExpressVPN comparison to find out more.
I will test each provider’s security, performance, and other features, to find which service would be a better fit for you. If you can’t be bothered to read this extensive comparison, here’s a tl;dr table where you can quickly see which is better in what situations:
|“Best for” nominee||Best for FiresStick, Best for Mac||Best for P2P, Best for China, Fastest VPN|
|Price starts from||$3.74/month||$8.32/month|
|Review||IPVanish review||ExpressVPN review|
Let’s see this fight in a round-by-round breakdown.
Security of IPVanish vs ExpressVPN
|Protocols||OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, PPTP||OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP|
|Security features||Kill switch, SOCKS5 proxy, company-owned servers||Network Lock, split tunneling, zero-knowledge DNS|
ExpressVPN and IPVanish offer identical AES-256 encryption on all of their apps. It’s virtually unbreakable, which means you get the highest security possible. This is excellent news for a customer, but it doesn’t show how both services compare.
Both services have a very similar range of tunneling protocols. You won’t find anything unique, but the ever-reliable OpenVPN and IKEv2 are there. Express even conveniently indicates L2TP/IPsec weaker security. This is great for unfamiliar users.
Users can also choose the SSTP protocol on IPVanish. This might be relevant if you want to configure a VPN on an older router that might not support OpenVPN. It’s a good chance that you won’t ever need it, but I appreciate the choice.
Both providers have a kill switch. It’s just named differently. IPVanish calls theirs, well, a “kill switch.” Sadly, it only works only on Windows, macOS, and Android. If you’re Linux or iOS user, you’re out of luck, because you’ll be missing out on one of the essential security features. ExpressVPN calls theirs the Network Lock, and it’s usable on all of their apps (including even router apps). This feature tilts the scales in ExpressVPN’s favor.
Where both services shine is DNS, IPv6, WebRTC leaks. More precisely, the absence of them. We thoroughly checked and re-checked with all possible tools. There are no holes to speak of.
As you can see, IPVanish is safe to use for masking your IP address.
So is the ExpressVPN.
It’s unsurprising considering that ExpressVPN has private, zero-knowledge, encrypted DNS servers.
Overall, when it comes to the technical side of things, ExpressVPN and IPVanish are equal. Both offer the same level of security that would be impossible to breach. Just keep in mind that you would be missing SOCKS5 proxy if you opt for ExpressVPN, and if you’re using iOS or Linux, you won’t get a kill switch with IPVanish. So pick accordingly.
Privacy features of IPVanish and ExpressVPN
|Jurisdiction||United States||The British Virgin Islands|
|Logging||Strict no-logs policy||Real world-proven strict no-logs policy|
|Anonymous payment||No anonymous payment options||Cryptocurrencies, gift cards|
In general, when the subject shifts to logs, ExpressVPN has few equals. Its no-logs policy has already been proven in a real-life case when the Turkish police ended up with no user data after seizing an ExpressVPN server in an investigation.
In response, IPVanish can claim that all of their servers belong to them, which significantly reduces risks due to there being no third-parties involved. The only problem is that IPVanish is based in the US, which is not a very privacy-friendly place – particularly after the upgraded Patriot Act was passed. ExpressVPN, on the other hand, is safely located in the British Virgin Islands and is therefore immune.
When it comes to payment options, IPVanish disappoints, yet again. If you look at their available payment methods, there aren’t that many anonymous options.
It’s a shame that you cannot pay for your service anonymously. If you could, the service, based in the US wouldn’t be that big of a deal. In this case, the options are suboptimal.
ExpressVPN, on the other hand, has a wide selection of payment methods. Many of them can be very anonymous, which is always a plus in my book.
ExpressVPN accepts gift cards and cryptocurrencies, which is great news if remaining anonymous is a #1 priority for you. Overall, this provider just offers a more secure suite of features. If you’re dealing with very sensitive activities, this might be important to you. In other cases, IPVanish should be fine, but keep in mind that it’s not a field this VPN is the best at.
ExpressVPN vs IPVanish speed and performance
ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: 14-Day Speed Average
|Download Speed||206 Mbps||59 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||420 Mbps||122 Mbps|
|Download Speed||122 Mbps||81 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||264 Mbps||271 Mbps|
|Download Speed||194 Mbps||133 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||388 Mbps||323 Mbps|
This is obviously an essential round to win. Without good all-around speeds, you can forget about enjoying your protected online experience.
In terms of speed, we can say that both these top fighters are quite fast. Although IPVanish claims to be the “fastest VPN” in the world, ExpressVPN would beg to differ. It has better average speeds by a considerable margin. However, IPVanish has a better ping score, which could be very important for you if you’re a gamer.
When it comes to network sizes, ExpressVPN has twice the number of servers that IPVanish has. It’s not a deal-breaker. It just means that it might be easier to find a server nearby because of their extensive coverage. Potentially, this could mean the server load is going to be lower because the users are more evenly spread.
All in all, we can say that both services are relatively close, considering overall speeds. However, ExpressVPN seems to be the winner here because of faster speeds and a bigger server fleet.
IPVanish and ExpressVPN apps: ease of use and device support
|Other apps||Chromebook OS, Fire TV & Fire Stick, Android TV||Chromebook OS, Fire TV & Fire Stick, Android TV, Routers|
|Browser extensions||–||Chrome, Firefox|
|Customer support||24/7 live chat, email, FAQ, tutorials||24/7 live chat, email, FAQ, tutorials|
This is a tricky round. Why? Because ExpressVPN apps have minimal design and are very easy to use.
On the other hand, IPVanish boasts a much more beautiful and more professional-looking interface, which is as intuitive as its opponent’s.
However, IPVanish supports double the number of simultaneous connections, has better customer support, and is easier to use for new users.
Both providers have apps for all the regular platforms like Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. They can also be used for Chrome OS and Amazon Fire devices. The only thing that ExpressVPN has over IPVanish in this category is probably browser extensions that you’re not going to use unless you cannot install a VPN software. It’s a pretty insignificant drawback.
Speaking of manual configurations, both providers have instructions for routers. You can also buy them pre-configured, which goes for ExpressVPN and IPVanish. If you’re planning to use ExpressVPN, you’d better learn how to configure it on a router. Five simultaneous connections are on the low end if you’re planning to share your account.
Lastly, if something goes wrong, you’re not left on your own. This applies to both IPVanish and ExpressVPN.
With both providers, you’ll get 24/7 live chat support that will help to sort out any issues that might ruin your VPN experience
However, based on our experiences IPVanish provided better customer support with less waiting in queues. They also have a dedicated button that directly connects you to customer support.
Torrenting and P2P with IPVanish vs ExpressVPN
|Allowed on||All servers||All servers|
|Free SOCKS5 proxy||Yes||No|
Torrenting is one of the key reasons why people turn to VPNs. In this case, both rivals are great for the task. They, however, have different strengths in different areas.
IPVanish offers free SOCKS5 proxy that you can configure with your torrent client, and ExpressVPN offers split tunneling. Both of these functions will be used in identical scenarios: you’ll just want to route your torrenting activities through a different server but not the total traffic. In this case, SOCKS5 configured on your client will protect your torrenting activities and allow you to browse the web directly.
ExpressVPN, on the other hand, will encrypt the whole traffic by default, and you’ll just be able to select which apps should bypass it. Sadly, the speed drop on split tunneling will be more significant than on SOCKS5 proxy (because of added encryption), so if high torrenting speed is a priority, you’re better off with IPVanish.
Netflix and other streaming platforms
|Other Netflix libraries||No||Yes|
Both services are excellent if you want to stream media. Although ExpressVPN has an additional option of unblocking other Netflix libraries, you’re most likely just want to unblock the biggest library of them, all of which is US Netflix.
For that, you’ll be good to go with either service. This is something that might not be that known because IPVanish stopped advertising their VPN as working with Netflix, but you can be sure that it does work.
Netflix isn’t the only platform you’re able to unblock. Both providers reliably unblock Hulu and Disney+, which means that you won’t have to miss out on your favorite TV shows.
China and other restricted countries
|Works in China||No||Yes|
|Tor over VPN||Yes||No|
When it comes to IPVanish in China, well, the provider offers troubleshooting and manual connection guides because their IP addresses are mostly blacklisted by this major censor state and there’s no stealth mode.
So, if passing the Great Firewall is your main reason to use a VPN, this round could be a decider. It might be difficult to unblock anything there with IPVanish and to get the VPN running in the first place. You’ll have better luck with less sophisticated censorship measures in other countries.
ExpressVPN, on the other hand, has a .onion website version and reliably works in China. However, with each restrictive country, you should check on a case-by-case basis. The situation changes and nothing is ever set in stone.
IPVanish vs ExpressVPN: Pricing comparison
|Money-back guarantee||30 days||30 days|
ExpressVPN is one of the most expensive premium VPN services. This doesn’t mean that they’re the best one, its just their pricing strategy. As a rule of thumb, you don’t always get drastically better service if you were to opt-in for the more expensive VPN.
With IPVanish you get budget-friendly pricing options across the board. A very similar level of performance for a lower price simply has better value. To compare, ExpressVPN prices start at $8.32/month while you can get IPVanish for as much as $3.74/month.
When you factor in that they both now offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, there is no reason to buy the more expensive service.
IPVanish vs ExpressVPN video review
IPVanish or ExpressVPN – which is better?
|Total wins||3 out of 8||3 out of 8|
ExpressVPN is clearly a more expensive VPN but is it worth the money? That really depends on what you’re using your VPN for. I believe that IPVanish vs ExpressVPN is essentially a draw, except IPVanish is a lot cheaper.
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Ethan is a security researcher and digital privacy advocate. He spends his time unraveling various anonymity and security tools, plus contributing to open-source projects. Otherwise, he keeps a low profile by hiking or cycling around the countryside.