ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: which VPN is worth your money?
If you’re looking for a fast VPN for streaming and torrenting, your choices might have come down to ExpressVPN and IPVanish. And now you’re stuck wondering which VPN service to go for.
Luckily, I’m here to help you make an informed decision. I compared IPVanish to ExpressVPN in terms of speed, security, logging, streaming capabilities, prices, ease of use, and customer support. This will allow you to see which VPN is better for your personal needs.
ExpressVPN vs IPVanish
IPVanish is much cheaper than ExpressVPN if you choose an annual plan, with prices starting from $3.33/month. Plus, it supports unlimited simultaneous connections, while ExpressVPN – only 5. And although both services offer fast tunneling protocols, IPVanish is faster. So taking everything into consideration, IPVanish provides you with much better value for your money, making it the winner.
|🥇 Overall rank:||#4 out of #35||#6 out of #35|
|🖥️ Servers:||2000+ servers in 50 countries||3000+ servers in 94 countries|
|📖 No logs policy:||No logs||No logs|
|💵 Pricing:||From $3.33/month||From $6.67/month|
|🔥 Coupons:||IPVanish coupon 72% OFF||ExpressVPN coupon 49% OFF|
|🔒 VPN protocols:||WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec||Lightway, OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPsec|
|🍿 Streaming services:||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube||Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+|
|🖥️ Platforms:||Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS|
|📥 Simultaneous connections:||Unlimited||5|
|💁🏻 Support:||Knowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chat||Knowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chat|
Netflix and streaming performance
|Netflix||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
|Amazon Prime Video||❌ No||✅ Yes|
|Hulu||❌ No||✅ Yes|
|Disney+||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
|BBC iPlayer||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
The ability to unblock streaming services is a huge deal when choosing a VPN service. After all, this is what pops into most people’s minds when they hear the word “VPN.”
Luckly, both IPVanish and ExpressVPN are great and reliable choices for those who want to access geo-restricted content and platforms.
During our tests, IPVanish managed to unblock US Netflix without any glitches or changes in video quality. In addition, the VPN had no trouble unblocking various Youtube videos that are blocked in our physical location.
However, not everything was perfect: when I tried accessing the BBC iPlayer, I got an error saying that I’m using a proxy. So sports fans might want to use ExpressVPN instead.
Why? Well, because ExpressVPN managed to unblock all of the content I wanted, including Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, and, of course, Youtube. It’s also worth mentioning that ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer feature is of great use when you want to watch geo-blocked content on smart TVs or gaming consoles.
Plans and pricing
Both IPVanish and ExpressVPN have flexible plan options for various terms. As with most digital products, the longer period you subscribe for, the cheaper the monthly price is. Both services offer 30-day money-back guarantees as well.
|Check IPVanish Deals||Check ExpressVPN deals|
Both IPVanish and ExpressVPN provide monthly plans that aren’t really worth it. The prices are much higher, so it’s more sensible to opt for a long-term tier and make use of the month-long money-back guarantee.
When it comes to the 1-year plan, you’d pay $4.50/month for IPVanish and $6.67/month for ExpressVPN. It’s almost double the price of IPVanish. Even if you get the SugarSync bundle of IPVanish for an additional dollar per month, it’s going to be cheaper than ExpressVPN. For the biggest savings, opt for the IPVanish 2-year plan, which is only $3.33/month.
Moving on to the payment methods, both IPVanish and ExpressVPN let you use a credit card or PayPal. However, ExpressVPN also gives you a choice to pay with Bitcoin or other options like UnionPay. This lets you pay anonymously.
IPVanish vs ExpressVPN: which offers better protection?
|A member of the 5-Eyes Alliance?||Yes||No|
IPVanish and ExpressVPN are pretty similar when it comes to security. For starters, both services use the military-grade AES-256 encryption, which is the current industry standard. No brute-force attack has been able to break it, as it would potentially take millions of years to do so.
Secondly, both VPN services use the SHA-512 hash function for authentication. This goes a bit above most other VPNs of the industry, as most VPN tools are still using SHA-256. It’s also worth noting that both services offer traffic obfuscation,
which guarantees privacy by not letting anyone detect that you’re using a
VPN at all.
It’s also important to note that IPVanish and ExpressVPN support perfect forward secrecy. This means that a portion of the encryption keys constantly changes, making your past data inaccessible in case of a security breach.
Regarding ExpressVPN, it's owned by Kape Technologies, which has a bit of a shady past.
When it comes to jurisdiction, ExpressVPN is the clear winner. That’s because this VPN service is based in the British Virgin Islands while IPVanish is located in the United States.
What’s the difference? Well, the US doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to privacy. Its government is known for spying on companies, requesting access to private user data, and other nefarious practices. The US also belongs to the 5-Eyes intelligence alliance.
Meanwhile, the British Virgin Islands is a territory with a much more privacy-friendly atmosphere.
There are significant differences between IPVanish and ExpressVPN in terms of logging. For instance, ExpressVPN uses RAM-only servers, wiping out data every time the server is rebooted. While no guarantees of privacy on their own, ExpressVPN still has a more secure server option of the two.
However, both services have solid privacy policies. IPVanish and ExpressVPN state that they don’t keep logs including activity logs, browsing history, connection logs, and similar data. However, both VPNs collect your email address and payment method.
Sadly, it isn't just technicalities: both companies have stains on their reputation that might make people reconsider purchasing them.
Both companies also have some question marks concerning their past behavior. IPVanish was involved in a privacy scandal, handing over some criminal data to the FBI. Since then, it's been purchased by a different company.
As mentioned previously, ExpressVPN is owned by Kape Technologies, which is quite notorious for the wrong reasons in the VPN community.
Nevertheless, both services have been audited. For instance, ExpressVPN was audited by the PwC auditing firm, while IPVanish – by Leviathan Security Group.
Both ExpressVPN and IPVanish offer a kill switch, which is an important security feature to any VPN service. It automatically disconnects your device from the internet if the VPN connection is disrupted, not letting your real IP address be detected.
Aside from blocking the internet, the kill switch of IPVanish also allows you to block LAN traffic in case of VPN failure.
The kill switch of ExpressVPN is called Network Lock. Just like IPVanish, ExpressVPN lets you deny or allow access to other devices from the same LAN when the VPN connection is down.
Speed comparison: IPVanish vs ExpressVPN
VPN speeds depend on the baseline speed on your Internet connection. Since your data goes through an encrypted tunnel once you connect to a VPN server, some speed drops are normal. Yet, they shouldn’t be too visible.
IPVanish uses the WireGuard protocol – it’s currently considered one of the fastest tunneling protocols out there. Meanwhile, ExpressVPN has a proprietary protocol called Lightway.
Using these two protocols, we tested the speeds of IPVanish and ExpressVPN in 6 locations in various parts of the world. This includes the US, the UK, Canada, Germany, France, and Japan.
- Baseline: 471 Mbps download/ 486 Mbps upload
|IPVanish (WireGuard)||ExpressVPN (Lightway)|
|The US||326 Mbps/ 357 Mbps||306 Mbps/ 372 Mbps|
|The UK||284 Mbps/ 324 Mbps||363 Mbps/ 369 Mbps|
|Canada||301 Mbps/ 332 Mbps||310 Mbps/ 292 Mbps|
|Germany||457 Mbps/ 466 Mbps||371 Mbps/ 338 Mbps|
|France||408 Mbps/ 393 Mbps||358 Mbps/ 353 Mbps|
|Japan||258 Mbps/ 199 Mbps||240 Mbps/ 275 Mbps|
As the table shows, IPVanish retains more of the baseline speeds than ExpressVPN. In terms of download speeds, IPVanish retained around 72%, while ExpressVPN – 69%.
As for upload speeds, while ExpressVPN’s percentage was the same as that of download speeds, IPVanish retained 71% of the baseline speeds.
There were a few instances where ExpressVPN’s Lightway protocol was faster, yet it was also prone to inconsistencies.
|Split tunneling||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
|Smart DNS||❌ No||✅ Yes|
|Auto connect||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
|SOCKS5 proxy||✅ Yes||❌ No|
|Port forwarding||❌ No||✅ Yes|
|Traffic obfuscation||✅ Yes||✅ Yes|
|Threat manager||❌ No||✅ Yes|
Both IPVanish and ExpressVPN have essential VPN features included, such as a functional kill switch and split tunneling.
However, there are some differences too: IPVanish also offers a SOCKS5 proxy while ExpressVPN supports Smart DNS. The latter also includes additional features, such as port forwarding and threat manager that protects you from malicious activity.
Another feature available for both ExpressVPN and IPVanish users is split tunneling. It gives you the freedom to choose specific apps that should use the VPN connection. When using ExpressVPN, you can either include or exclude the applications of your choice.
ExpressVPN lets you use it with its Windows, macOS, and Android applications.
As for IPVanish, it supports split tunneling on the Android and FireOS only. It lets you choose which apps should not connect with a VPN.
Split tunneling can be beneficial when you want to unlock foreign content libraries on streaming platforms but still want to view other sites and content locally. If you feel like this feature would be beneficial, ExpressVPN offers the feature on more apps.
One feature that’s offered only by ExpressVPN and not IPVanish is Smart DNS. In ExpressVPN’s apps, it’s also called MediaStreamer.
This feature helps you watch geo-blocked content on devices that don’t support VPN connections, like some smart TVs or gaming consoles. However, keep in mind that at the moment it only allows you to access US libraries.
Unlike ExpressVPN, IPVanish gives you a free SOCKS5 proxy. It’s a great feature for torrenting. To put it simply, it helps maintain great download speeds but hides your real IP address for some extra privacy.
However, keep in mind that it doesn’t encrypt your data, so your ISP may still see what you’re doing online.
Both IPVanish and ExpressVPN offer traffic obfuscation features that disguise VPN traffic, making it appear as regular internet traffic. In this way, it’s impossible to detect that you’re using a VPN even with the help of deep packet inspection by a firewall or your network admin.
To enable this feature on IPVanish, you have to go to the settings section and enable the XOR cipher for your traffic.
As for ExpressVPN, you don’t need to do anything to activate this feature – it will simply switch you to a stealth server when deep packet inspection is detected.
It’s important to note that the presence of stealth servers imply that ExpressVPN has a high chance of working in China and other countries that track the usage of VPNs.
Once again, ExpressVPN offers a feature not present in IPVanish – RAM-only servers. It’s also called TrustedServer technology on the official page of the VPN. It means that all of your data is regularly wiped out with every server reboot, as the servers of ExpressVPN are incapable of storing any data logs
This is a reliable way to ensure sensitive data protection. No one will be able to steal it as there’s nothing to steal.
Even though both VPN services offer you a really broad coverage of servers, ExpressVPN has around a thousand servers more of what IPVanish currently provides.
In addition, ExpressVPN gives you more countries to choose from. This lets you explore many more streaming libraries and content.
While IPVanish owns all of its servers, ExpressVPN doesn’t. This puts a slight advantage on IPVanish because owning your own network (thus not relying on third parties) benefits overall security.
On the other hand, all the servers of ExpressVPN are RAM-only, which means they are incapable of storing data anyway.
If you want a safe VPN for torrenting, it won’t matter that much whether you use IPVanish or ExpressVPN because both services offer great torrent support.
Let’s take a look at IPVanish first. As it doesn’t have specialized torrenting servers, you can simply use one of its regular servers that allow torrenting (Switzerland, for example) – the speed won’t be disappointing. In our case, it steadily stayed at 7-8MB/s, which is higher than many other VPN providers can offer.
As for ExpressVPN, it supports torrenting on all of its servers. However, during my tests, the speed was a bit less stable than in the case of IPVanish: it constantly fluctuated between 6 and 15 MB/s. Keep in mind that these speeds depend on a number of factors and will likely be different for you.
Interface and ease of use
|Supported OS||Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS|
|Other software and devices||Android TV, Fire devices, routers||Android TV, Fire devices, routers|
|Browser extensions||–||Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Brave|
|Usability level||Easy to use||Easy to use|
Both IPVanish and ExpressVPN have apps for the most popular operating systems (OS) – Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. On Linux, you can use both services through the terminal, there are no graphical apps.
IPVanish doesn't offer any browser extensions – meanwhile, ExpressVPN has them for Chrome, Edge, and Firefox. However, with unlimited connections, IPVanish takes a solid advantage. 5 connections on ExpressVPN is below the business standard, especially considering the price of the service.
As for the usability, both services are very simple to use. However, IPVanish apps are more modern, giving it the upper hand.
Just take a look at the main screen of the Windows and macOS apps of IPVanish, and you’ll find everything organized in one place. There’s the map (you can also choose the list view), the settings tab, and all sorts of info about the connection.
Meanwhile, ExpressVPN took a minimalistic approach. The main window of both Windows and Mac applications is rather tiny, with a huge button taking up the majority of the space. If you want to tweak a feature or two, you have to open the Settings window, which looks a bit outdated.
Unlike IPVanish, ExpressVPN apps don’t have a map displayed. However, this doesn’t cause issues as there’s a convenient country filter available. Plus, ExpressVPN Windows and Mac apps offer the split tunneling feature, which is available only on the Android app of IPVanish.
It’s also worth noting that IPVanish and ExpressVPN have no graphical client for Linux users – you have to do everything through the Command Line Interface.
The mobile version of IPVanish looks different from its desktop counterparts. As it’s made to fit a mobile screen, it’s much more compact and less cluttered.
However, keep in mind that the Android app of IPVanish is superior to the iOS application, as it has more features like split tunneling and obfuscation toggle.
Now, the mobile version of ExpressVPN looks almost identical to the desktop version.
As with IPVanish, the Android app of ExpressVPN is the superior one, offering more features that include split tunneling and a kill switch.
|24/7 live chat||✅||✅|
|Guides or articles||✅||✅|
While both services offer great support, IPVanish ensures more customer service options than ExpressVPN. That’s because unlike the latter, IPVanish offers a phone number for citizens of the US, Mexico, the UK, Spain, Australia, and Brazil.
Aside from that, you can contact either of the providers through their 24/7 live chat if you need a fast reply. Both ExpressVPN and IPVanish also offer email support if the issue isn’t that pressing.
Yet, if you like figuring things out yourself, you’ll be able to use the extensive knowledge centers and FAQs of either one of the providers.
ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: which should I get?
|Ease of use||✅||❌|
Although both services provide you with high-quality security, IPVanish is a better VPN solution than ExpressVPN. For starters, it’s relatively faster than ExpressVPN.
IPVanish also provides you with more customer support options and unlimited simultaneous connections. Plus, you can get the VPN for half of what you’d pay for ExpressVPN.
Meanwhile, ExpressVPN has a much bigger server fleet and can unlock more streaming platforms.
Either way, considering the price of IPVanish, it provides you with much better value for your money, making it a clear winner of this comparison.
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NordVPN vs Surfshark: choosing the best VPN option
NordVPN vs Private Internet Access: how do these VPNs compare?
PureVPN vs ExpressVPN: which one to choose in 2023?
Is ExpressVPN better than IPVanish?
No. At the moment, IPVanish is better than ExpressVPN in terms of security, speed, price, and ease of use.
What VPN is better than ExpressVPN?
NordVPN is better than ExpressVPN because you get more features for a lower price. Another good alternative is Surfshark because you get unlimited simultaneous connections instead of five.
Is IPVanish a strong VPN?
Yes, IPVanish is a strong choice if you’re looking for a good VPN service. It has a no-logs policy, implements secure tunneling protocols, unblocks lots of streaming services, and offers unlimited simultaneous connections.
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