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ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: which VPN is worth your money?

ExpressVPN vs IPVanish

If you’re looking for a fast VPN for streaming and torrenting, your choices might have come down to IPVanish and ExpressVPN. 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

ExpressVPNIPVanish VPN
Rating:4.6 ★★★★4.0 ★★★★
Country:British Virgin IslandsUS
Locations:94 countries52 countries
Pricing:From $8.32/monthFrom $2.62/month
Current deal:12 Months + 3 Months FREE!72% OFF the IPVanish 1-year plan
VPN protocols:Lightway, IKEv2, OpenVPN (UDP/TCP)IKEv2, OpenVPN (UDP/TCP), L2TP, PPTP
Logging:No logsNo logs
Netflix:YesYes
Torrenting:YesYes
Support:Knowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chatKnowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chat
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
Website:Expressvpn.comIpvanish.com

Winner: ExpressVPN logo

Speed comparison: IPVanish vs ExpressVPN

Baseline: 1 ms, 300 Mbps download, 300 Mbps upload

It seems highly unfair to compare ExpressVPN’s in-house tunneling protocol Lightway (which is similar to WireGuard) to any of the usual protocols offered by IPVanish. During my tests, the download speed usually went above 250 Mbps when using Lightway, which is really impressive. On the other hand, IPVanish excelled with most other tunneling protocols.

In the end, I give it to ExpressVPN because it delivers great results in both Download and Upload. Meanwhile, IPVanish doesn’t quite have that – some protocols have great Download or Upload speeds, while others are quite mediocre in both regards.

Winner: ExpressVPN logo

Speed test results

Both IPVanish and ExpressVPN support OpenVPN UDP, which is a protocol that combines great security with a high level of speed. When it comes to IPVanish vs ExpressVPN, it is clear that the latter wins: on average, it decreased my original download speed by 45% while IPVanish reduced it by 55%.

OpenVPN UDPIPVanishExpressVPN
Download average137 Mbps165 Mbps
Upload average55 Mbps110 Mbps

OpenVPN TCP is considered to be the slower version of OpenVPN that provides more stability than UDP. Interestingly enough, IPVanish managed to show better results with this protocol than with its faster counterpart. The download speed was reduced by only 45%, while the upload speed decreased by 65%.

When it came to ExpressVPN, the download speed fell by 65% while the upload speed decreased by 67%. In this case, IPVanish is clearly at an advantage.

OpenVPN TCPIPVanishExpressVPN
Download average163 Mbps103 Mbps
Upload average135 Mbps97 Mbps

IKEv2 is a really fast protocol that’s also very secure, creating a perfect combination for most VPN users. As you can see from the table below, both IPVanish and ExpressVPN offer similar download speeds with IKEv2.

When using IPVanish, my download speed decreased by only 21% on average, while ExpressVPN decreased the download speed by 30%. Interestingly, both VPN services showed much worse results with the upload speed.

IKEv2IPVanishExpressVPN
Download average237 Mbps211 Mbps
Upload average32 Mbps9.5 Mbps

It’s difficult to declare a clear winner here, but the Lightway protocol of ExpressVPN takes it in the end. That said, IPVanish is certainly no slouch.

Features overview

Both IPVanish and ExpressVPN have the essential VPN features like a kill switch and split tunneling. However, there are some differences too: IPVanish also offers a SOCKS5 proxy while ExpressVPN supports smart DNS.

What I like about ExpressVPN more is the fact that it supports split tunneling on multiple devices, not only Android smartphones. This VPN also offers RAM-only servers, stealth servers, and supports port forwarding, which makes it the winner in this category.

Winner: ExpressVPN logo

Split tunneling

This is another feature available for ExpressVPN and IPVanish users. Split tunneling gives you the freedom to choose the specific apps that should use the VPN connection. When using ExpressVPN, you can either include or exclude the applications of your choice.

Only the Android app of IPVanish supports split tunneling. On the other hand, ExpressVPN lets you use it with its Windows, macOS, and Android applications.

ExpressVPN split tunneling

Smart DNS

One feature offered by ExpressVPN (but not IPVanish) is smart DNS, or MediaStreamer. It helps you watch geo-blocked content on devices that don’t support VPN, like some smart TVs. However, keep in mind that at the moment it only allows you to access US libraries.

SOCKS5 proxy

Unlike ExpressVPN, IPVanish gives you a free SOCKS5 proxy. It’s a great feature for torrenting. Even though it hides your real IP address, it doesn’t encrypt the data itself, allowing you to have better speeds.

Stealth servers

Stealth servers are arguably the best feature of ExpressVPN. These servers 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.

You don’t need to do anything to activate this feature – ExpressVPN 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.

TrustedServer technology

Once again, ExpressVPN offers a feature not present in IPVanish – RAM-only servers (called TrustedServer technology on the official page of the VPN). Basically, it means that all of your data is regularly deleted with every server reboot, as the servers of ExpressVPN are incapable of storing any data logs.

IPVanish vs ExpressVPN: which offers better protection?

IPVanish VPN protocols

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 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.

One of the things that differ in this IPVanish vs ExpressVPN battle is the fact that ExpressVPN lets you choose ChaCha20/Poly1305 encryption when using the Lightway protocol. This type of encryption works better with weaker devices than AES-256.

Also, it’s worth noting that ExpressVPN’s stealth servers double down on your privacy by not letting anyone detect that you’re using a VPN at all.

Winner: ExpressVPN logo

Jurisdiction

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 Five Eyes intelligence alliance.

Meanwhile, the British Virgin Islands is a territory with a much more privacy-friendly atmosphere.

Logging

There are significant differences between IPVanish and ExpressVPN in terms of logging. But let’s start with the similarities.

In their privacy policies, both services 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.

Now, here come the differences. Out of the two, ExpressVPN is the only one with a (recent and reputable) independent audit (performed by PricewaterhouseCoopers). In addition, IPVanish VPN has been involved in a privacy scandal. Some years ago, it provided the FBI with the email, the real IP address, and connection timestamps of an alleged criminal.

Granted, IPVanish has been bought by a different company since then, but the privacy record of ExpressVPN is still decidedly better. Also, the fact that ExpressVPN uses RAM-only servers proves that this VPN won’t give away your data simply because it gets wiped out every time a server is rebooted.

Kill Switch

ExpressVPN kill switch

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.

Netflix and streaming performance

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”.

Luckily, both IPVanish and ExpressVPN are great choices for those who want to access that sweet geo-blocked content.

When I tested it, 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 my country.

US Netflix

However, not everything was perfect: when I tried accessing the BBC iPlayer, I got an error saying that I’m using a proxy. I had no luck with DAZN either, so sports fans might want to use ExpressVPN instead.

Why? Well, because ExpressVPN managed to unblock all the content I wanted, including DAZN. In addition, it worked smoothly with 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.

As you can see, even though IPVanish is able to unblock certain sites, ExpressVPN is a better alternative in terms of streaming VPNs. I didn’t even need to use its specialized streaming servers because the regular servers did the job flawlessly.

Winner: ExpressVPN logo

Torrenting

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, simply use one of its regular servers that allow torrenting (Switzerland, for example) – the speed won’t be disappointing. In my 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.

All in all, I can’t declare a true winner in this category because, while ExpressVPN can provide better speeds, they might be highly inconsistent.

Winner: Draw

Server locations

IPVanish servers

Even though both VPN services offer you a really broad coverage of servers, ExpressVPN has almost double the count of what IPVanish currently provides.

In addition, ExpressVPN gives you more freedom to pick the country that you need, because it offers a bigger number of countries across various continents.

IPVanish VPNExpressVPN
Servers1,600+3,000+
Locations75+160+
Americas913
Europe3047
Asia Pacific1126
Middle East and Africa25

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.

Winner: ExpressVPN logo

Plans & pricing

When it comes to the battle of IPvanish vs ExpressVPN, pricing is an important factor to consider. As none of the VPN services have a free version, a price too high can be a dealbreaker for people who are on a budget.

PlanIPVanishExpressVPN
1-month plan$3.49 the first month, after that – $9.99 a month $12.95
6-month plan$59.95
1-year plan$31.49 the first year, after that – $89.99 a year$99.95 + 3 months free
Check PricingCheck Pricing

The pricing of IPVanish

As seen in the table, the pricing system of IPVanish is a bit complicated. You get a different price the first month or year of the subscription depending on the plan you purchase. If you buy a one-month plan, you get to pay $3.49 the very first month, while every consecutive month will cost you $9.99.

The one-year plan is a bit cheaper. You’ll spend $31.49 the first year (or $2.62 a month) and $89.99 a year ($7.45 a month) afterwards.

IPVanish prices

Alternatively, you can get one of the SugarSync bundles of IPVanish, which will also give you 500 GB of cloud storage for secure backup and cost an additional dollar a month.

While all the plans of IPVanish offer unlimited connections, only the long-term subscriptions let you use the money-back guarantee. Keep this in mind before making a purchase.

The prices of ExpressVPN

Now, the different subscription plans for ExpressVPN are much more straightforward. You can buy a one-month plan for $12.95, a 6-month plan for $59.95 ($9.99 a month), or a 1-year plan for $99.95 ($8.32 a month).

Currently, the one-year plan gives you three months for free, which reduces the monthly price to $6.67. It’s also important to note that ExpressVPN supports 5 simultaneous connections and allows you to pay with Bitcoin. All its plans have a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Which is cheaper?

It’s difficult to determine which VPN gives you a better deal. On the one hand, the current special offer of ExpressVPN (that grants you three months for free when you buy the one-year subscription) costs you $6.67 a month, which is cheaper than the price of the second year of IPVanish.

On the other hand, IPVanish offers you the extra cheap option of $2.62 a month for the first year of the subscription. However, after the first year, the price goes up to $7.45 a month.

However, I pick IPVanish as the winner simply because $2.62 is cheaper than what most VPNs on the market can offer.

Winner:

Interface and ease of use

IPVanish VPNExpressVPN
Supported OSWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
Other software and devicesAndroid TV, Fire devices, routersAndroid TV, Fire devices, routers
Browser extensionsNoneChrome, Firefox
Simultaneous connectionsUnlimited5

No matter what kind of device you use, you should find the IPVanish or ExpressVPN app you need. Both services provide a huge selection of applications and supported devices.

However, only ExpressVPN has released browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox: there are no extensions for IPVanish users. On the other hand, IPVanish offers unlimited connections – which is a much better deal than the one of ExpressVPN.

Yet, I choose ExpressVPN as the winner in this category simply because its applications are more uniform feature-wise. In addition, the MediaStreamer feature of ExpressVPN makes it compatible with devices that otherwise wouldn’t support a VPN (like consoles or Apple TV).

I also like that ExpressVPN offers a proprietary router app, which is not only easy to set up, but also supports port forwarding.

Winner: ExpressVPN logo

Desktop apps

Just take a look at the main screen of the Windows and macOS apps of IPVanish and you’ll find everything you need 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. On the other hand, some users might find the application a bit clunky.

Differently from IPVanish, 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, in turn, looks a bit outdated to me.

ExpressVPN main screen

There’s also no map, however, this doesn’t cause too much trouble because there’s a convenient country filter that lets you browse through servers with ease. Also, I like that the ExpressVPN Windows and Mac apps offer the split tunneling feature, which is available only on the Android app of IPVanish.

Both IPVanish and ExpressVPN have no graphical client for Linux users – you have to do everything through the Command Line Interface.

Mobile apps

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. 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.

IPVanish Android

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.

Customer support

No matter whether you use IPVanish or ExpressVPN, your customer support options will be pretty similar. Both services offer a knowledge center (with FAQs sections and lots of different topics), email tickets, and live chat support.

Winner: Draw

ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: Which should I get?

CategoryIPVanish VPNExpressVPN
Speed
Features
Privacy
Streaming
Torrenting
Price
Server locations
Ease of use
Customer support

Winner: ExpressVPN logo

The duel between ExpressVPN vs. IPVanish leaves the former victorious. Both VPNs are good services that are worth your time. Yet, ExpressVPN gains the upper hand in privacy, features, streaming possibilities, and server locations. This is decisive leverage that can swing the scale towards one or the other VPN service.

However, IPVanish offers a much better price for the first year of subscription. So, if you don’t mind that this VPN doesn’t unblock BBC iPlayer and DAZN, has fewer server locations, and is based in a Five Eyes country, you might think about subscribing to IPVanish.


More VPN comparisons

ExpressVPN vs. NordVPN: which one’s a winner?

NordVPN vs. Surfshark: choosing the best VPN option

NordVPN vs Private Internet Access: how do these VPNs compare?


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