IPVanish vs. NordVPN: which service to choose?
IPVanish vs. NordVPN – both are extremely popular VPN tools in a market full of great service providers. Yet the two are really quite different. NordVPN is quite possibly the most universal VPN, whereas IPVanish offers some of the best deals out there.
But which of the two is better for you?
In this article, I'll be comparing the security, privacy, speed, price, and other features important for VPN users. I will also declare the winner in each category – the conclusions may surprise you! So buckle up and let's delve into the intricacies of these great VPN services.
IPVanish vs. NordVPN
|Avg. speed:||259 Mbps||233 Mbps|
|Locations:||59 countries||53 countries|
|Pricing:||from $3.30/month||from $2.62/month|
|Current deal:||Get NordVPN, now 72% OFF!||70% OFF the IPVanish 1-year plan|
|VPN protocols:||NordLynx, IKEv2, OpenVPN (UDP/TCP)||IKEv2, OpenVPN (UDP/TCP), L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, PPTP|
|Logging:||No logs||No logs|
|Support:||Knowledge base, FAQs, email, chatbot, 24/7 live chat||Knowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chat|
|Platforms:||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS||Windows, macOS, Android, iOS|
Speed comparison: IPVanish vs. NordVPN
Below you will find speed comparisons for different tunneling protocols. The numbers represent average download and upload speeds from Switzerland, UK, US, Argentina, India, Japan, and Australia.
Since IPVanish hasn't implemented WireGuard yet, I'll just say that NordVPN's in-house version of it, named NordLynx, gave us 259 Mbps download and 137 Mbps upload on average. These numbers are better than anything that IPVanish could offer.
IKEv2 is available on both VPNs, so I made a direct comparison of their results. IPVanish and NordVPN have virtually the same download speeds, but the latter has faster upload. If we convert it to the drop-off percentage, that's 83% vs. 94% in favor of NordVPN.
- Baseline: 1 ms, 300 Mbps download, 300 Mbps upload
|Download average||227 Mbps||233 Mbps|
|Upload average||52 Mbps||18 Mbps|
OpenVPN's UDP is the faster but less secure version. Here the difference in the upload speed is negligible, but NordVPN clearly wins in the download department, with the drop-off of 34% vs. 59%.
|Download average||197 Mbps||122 Mbps|
|Upload average||65 Mbps||47 Mbps|
OpenVPN TCP is more stable but offers worse performance, thus making its usage limited. In this case, IPVanish is much faster than NordVPN. The drop-off of the latter stays well above 95%.
|Download average||13 Mbps||151 Mbps|
|Upload average||10 Mbps||120 Mbps|
It's also worth mentioning that IPVanish offers some outdated tunneling protocols, such as L2TP/IPSec and PPTP. On average, they will give you 81 Mbps and 41 Mbps when downloading, respectively. Therefore, there's no point in taking a risk with them.
To sum up, this round is pretty even, but NordVPN wins thanks to its NordLynx protocol, which offers fast and stable speeds in both the download and upload department.
Both services have all the main features that a premium VPN should have. However, NordVPN has something extra that IPVanish doesn't. Check out the feature overview and see for yourself.
Split tunneling is a useful feature that allows you to choose which apps will use the VPN tunnel and which will connect directly. This way, you can use your real IP to access for online banking and watch Netflix Japan at the same time.
NordVPN wins this one because of compatibility. It allows split tunneling on Windows and Android, while IPVanish has it on Android and FireOS only.
This feature helps avoid blocking when an app or a service detects that you're using a VPN. It's also known as a great tool against China's Deep Packet Inspection (DPI).
NordVPN calls this feature Obfuscated servers, and you can find them under the Specialty Servers section. Turning it on will make your traffic look like regular HTTPS traffic. In the case of IPVanish, you turn on this traffic obfuscation by ticking the Scramble box under OpenVPN options, thus enabling the XOR cipher that does all the rest.
However, IPVanish's Stealth VPN seems to have trouble unblocking the internet in China, so this one also goes to NordVPN.
Free SOCKS5 proxy
The SOCKS5 proxy is particularly favored by torrenting. Essentially, setting it up on your torrent client (or any other app that supports proxies) will hide your IP without encrypting the traffic. This way, you get some privacy plus full-speed downloads.
You can configure the SOCKS5 proxy on all popular P2P clients. However, be aware that your ISP could still see what you're doing if they wanted. In the end, the only small advantage that IPVanish has over NordVPN is that they allow using SOCKS5 for scraping.
IPVanish is probably the only premium VPN offering encrypted cloud storage. Named SugarSync, it allows you to upload up to 500 GB for a small monthly fee. You can even send files via email, which is very convenient when you start running out of inbox storage.
The list of NordVPN-only features starts with SmartDNS. When turned on, it unblocks Netflix and other content platforms without traffic encryption. Most importantly, SmartDNS works as a so-called SmartPlay feature, which will let you unblock content on most smart TVs, game consoles, and other media devices.
Then there's a bunch of security-oriented options. NordVPN's CyberSec blocks ads and malware, Double VPN (multi-hop) gives extra protection by connecting to two VPN servers instead of one, while Onion Over VPN adds Tor relays on top for unprecedented privacy.
You can learn more about NordVPN features in our NordVPN review.
IPVanish vs. NordVPN: which offers better security?
IPVanish offers good security and privacy, but the NordVPN offering is better. Both use military-grade encryption and modern tunneling protocols, which give them a good starting base. However, NordVPN has a better kill switch that can work at the app or connection level. Additionally, IPVanish doesn't offer this feature on iOS.
As you can see, NordVPN already looks better. But when we throw in CyberSec, Double VPN, and Onion Over VPN, the winner becomes obvious.
IPVanish is registered in the United States. This country is the founding member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance and creates a whole host of privacy issues for digital businesses. In the meantime, NordVPN is situated in Panama, which has no data retention laws and no connection with the aforementioned surveillance alliance. Meanwhile, the US government can make any company collect data as per the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
NordVPN has an independently-audited no-logs policy. That about sums it up. As for IPVanish, they have a no-logs policy, but it hasn't been audited in a while. Besides, unlike NordVPN, they don't offer the opportunity to pay using anonymous payment methods (such as crypto).
Netflix and other streaming platforms
Both providers unblock Netflix US and YouTube. However, for IPVanish, the list ends here. In the meantime, NordVPN adds other Netflix libraries, BBC iPlayer, DAZN, and more.
Whichever service you choose, you'll be able to stream on all servers. And since their performance doesn't differ that much, your connection will be the key to watching in HD or 4K video quality.
However, NordVPN's SmartPlay (Smart DNS) is a big trump card. Since using it as a Smart DNS feature means your traffic isn't encrypted or rerouted through a VPN server, the speeds will be significantly better. Additionally, you'll be able to stream on smart TVs, game consoles, and other devices without the VPN app.
Torrenting and P2P
IPVanish and NordVPN are great options for torrenting. Both have a free SOCKS5 proxy, which means you can download without slowing down your connection with encryption.
The main difference is that IPVanish allows P2P on all servers, and NordVPN has a specialized list. However, they have almost three times more servers in total, so overpopulation shouldn't be an issue.
Finally, IPVanish has servers in 53 countries compared to NordVPN's 59, so there's a slightly bigger chance that you find one nearby with the latter VPN. That's the only instance where NordVPN has the edge over IPVanish, though I don't consider it enough to win this round.
Plans and pricing
The pricing plans of these two providers differ substantially both in length and discounts offered. Add IPVanish's 500 GB cloud storage option to the mix, and it becomes quite difficult to tell right away which service offers a better deal. Let's break it down and see which one wins this round.
|Check Pricing||Check Pricing|
I want to emphasize that the numbers you see here and on IPVanish's website are either for your plan's first month or year. Afterward, they go up fast, ranging from $7.5/month to $9.99/month. Of course, if you're fine with switching to another provider or paying the full price after the initial subscription period, there's no reason to skip this deal.
Even with SugarSync cloud storage, IPVanish is much cheaper in the monthly category. However, the difference becomes less pronounced as we enter the Annual Zone. Here NordVPN loses to its opponent with prices that are 88% and 69% smaller.
Furthermore, NordVPN sports an even cheaper two-year deal for $3.30/month. That's 72% off of its monthly price for you. Compared to IPVanish's annual plans, you save 21% with and 29% without SugarSync.
Both services come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Each also has a 7-day free trial but it's iOS-only for IPVanish. Meanwhile, NordVPN allows you to make use of the trial on both Android and iOS devices.
Overall, you should ask yourself – do I need 500 GB of encrypted storage? If you'll end up saving everything in Google Drive or Dropbox anyway, there's not much point in paying extra. And if you start saving for SugarSync, don't forget that, at least for now, it only comes with the VPN, which accounts for the majority of the price.
As my NordVPN vs. IPVanish comparison is about VPNs, I have to ignore that sweet SugarSync deal and still declare IPVanish the winner. It's simply cheaper because of the huge discounts for your first billing period.
The number of available countries is pretty even. However, NordVPN has more than three times as many servers. Let's take a look at how the servers are spread out across the planet.
|Middle East & Africa||4||4|
As the table shows, both contestants give global coverage. IPVanish concentrates a bit more on the Americas, while NordVPN offers more options in Europe and the Asia Pacific. The numbers in the Middle East and Africa are identical.
In the end, I give this one to NordVPN because of the quantity and the quality of their servers. While all IPVanish servers are their own and physical, NordVPN doesn't use virtual servers and most of them are RAM-only.
Apps, interface, and ease of use
|Supported OS||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS||Windows, macOS, Android, iOS|
|Other software and devices||Android TV, Fire devices||Android TV, Fire devices|
|Browser extensions||Chrome, Firefox||-|
NordVPN offers better compatibility. Compared to it, IPVanish lacks Linux app and browser extensions. Therefore, the difference in simultaneous connections allowed becomes less important except if you're sharing the account with family or friends.
You can also manually configure both VPNs on routers, firewalls, and NAS devices. Besides, NordVPN has the Smart DNS feature, which extends your streaming platform selection with smart TVs and game consoles.
Each service offers Windows and Mac apps that are somewhat similarly-designed. You have a mid-sized window that can be maximized and the option to select servers either from the list or from the map that takes up the most space. All settings are displayed on the left sidebar, and most importantly, the majority are available on the Mac apps as well.
It's also worth noting that NordVPN has two apps for macOS. The App Store version supports NordLynx and other protocols, while the other one gives you only OpenVPN but has more features. Hopefully, we'll see the merged version in the near future.
IPVanish also offers some features for advanced users. You can enable keyboard shortcuts and connect by pressing Alt + C or see the server list with Alt + L. Furthermore, there's a separate Diagnostics tab under Settings which can help troubleshoot issues on your own or together with customer support.
NordVPN has a Linux app with .deb and .rpm packages, but it lacks a graphical user interface (GUI). On the other hand, IPVanish doesn't have a Linux client at all. You can set it up manually on a number of distros, including Ubuntu, Fedora, Kali Linux, and others.
The mobile apps of IPVanish are pretty bland, while NordVPN retains the look of its well-designed desktop counterparts.
As it often is, the iOS clients have fewer features, but NordVPN does a pretty good job of keeping their apps at a similar level. Most importantly, the iOS version has an always-on kill switch, while IPVanish fails to implement this crucial feature. Additionally, the iOS app of NordVPN has a tab for favorite servers and the option to register for dark web monitoring.
Moving on to Android, we find that IPVanish has split tunneling, Stealth VPN, notifications about insecure networks, and port selection, among others. Available protocols include OpenVPN and IKEv2 (beta).
NordVPN for Android doesn't have IKEv2 but compensates the loss with NordLynx. There's also split tunneling, a customizable kill switch, CyberSec, Stealth VPN, Onion Over VPN, tapjacking protection, and Custom DNS. As you can see, there's more to toggle and tweak in comparison to IPVanish.
Both providers offer 24/7 live chat support. The agents are polite and resourceful, while the waiting times were minimal. For most users, that's probably more than enough.
Another way to contact IPVanish and NordVPN is by email. This time I found the latter VPN to be faster, usually taking less than a day to answer. In contrast, my question for IPVanish took three days to answer.
Finally, each service has a well-maintained knowledge base to delve into. Here you'll find FAQs, setup guides, and troubleshooting sections. I liked that IPVanish shows system status at the top of their Support Center's page. So if you have trouble connecting, you may check it out to see if the problem is really on your side.
IPVanish vs. NordVPN: which one is better?
|Ease of use||✔||✘|
When we stack NordVPN vs. IPVanish, it doesn't take too long to see which service is better. It lost only in the pricing category. Meanwhile, IPVanish managed to pull off three draws in P2P, server locations, and customer support. This is an impressive trait, but it's not enough to take out NordVPN. It's just faster, more secure, offers a better streaming experience, and has the upper hand in compatibility and ease of use.
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