IPVanish vs Private Internet Access: which VPN is better?


IPVanish and Private Internet Access are well-known providers in the VPN market. Both have a great reputation for providing excellent service and plenty of relevant features to boost security. But all providers have their benefits and drawbacks, so we decided to test IPVanish vs PIA to see which is better.

Based on our test results, IPVanish is the winner. However, the competition was very close. Private Internet Access is equally good in terms of customer support and ease of use, yet IPVanish beats the provider in several other crucial categories.

When it comes to speed, IPVanish is undefeatable. Unlike PIA, IPVanish offers great speed, as well as better streaming capabilities. Although, it’s worth noting that PIA provides a top-notch torrenting experience and larger server fleet.

Even though we already spoiled who's the winner of the IPVanish vs PIA battle, make sure to dive deeper into the review. Below, we provide many important details about both providers allowing you to pick the most suitable one for your needs.

IPVanish vs Private Internet Access (PIA)

IPVanishPrivate Internet Access VPN
⭐ Rating:
4.5
3.9
🥇 Overall rank:#3 out of #42#15 out of #42
🖥️ Servers:2,200 + servers in 52 countries30,000 + servers in 91 countries
📖 No logs policy:No logsNo logs
💵 Price:From $2.75/monthFrom $2.03/month
🔥 Coupons:IPVanish coupon 78% OFFPIA coupon 83% OFF
🔒 VPN protocols:WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSecWireguard, OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec
🍿 Streaming services:Netflix, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Disney+, and moreNetflix, YouTube, Hulu, BBC iPlayer
🖥️ Platforms:Windows, Mac, Android, iOSWindows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Opera
📥 Simultaneous connections:UnlimitedUnlimited
💁🏻 Support:Knowledge base, FAQs, email, 24/7 live chatKnowledge base, tickets, live chat

Netflix and streaming performance

Platform
IPVanishPrivate Internet Access
Netflix

Amazon Prime Video
YouTube
Hulu

HBO Max
Disney+

BBC iPlayer

It's no surprise that people mostly use VPNs to unblock streaming services. However, not all VPNs are equally suitable for the task. IPVanish vs PIA is a good example. Our test results show that IPVanish is more efficient than PIA at unblocking various streaming services. Plus, it has a native app for Apple TV, which PIA is lacking.

When it comes to Netflix, both providers can unblock it relatively well. However, there are a few things to note. Private Internet Access can easily unblock US libraries, but it's not that good with others, such as exclusive Netflix UK content.

On the other hand, IPVanish managed to unblock Netflix US, UK, and India. However, it failed to provide access to most European Netflix libraries.

Now, what about other streaming platforms? If you're looking to unblock BBC iPlayer, PIA may not be suitable for you since it has failed to unblock it. The same goes for Disney+ as well as Amazon Prime Video. However, it provided geo-restricted access to YouTube and Hulu US with ease.

On the contrary, IPVanish unblocked BBC iPlayer. But not without challenges — during our test, the streaming was laggy, and we faced some buffering issues. The Hulu performance was also disappointing, as well as Amazon Prime Video. The provider couldn't even unblock US servers.

Overall, both providers demonstrate decent performance, despite not being able to compete with top VPN providers, such as NordVPN, which unblocks all of these streaming sites. However, if you choose IPVanish you’ll be able to unblock more streaming services than with Private Internet access.

Plans & pricing

PlanIPVanishPrivate Internet Access
Monthly$12.99/month$11.99/month
Six-monthsN/A$7.50/month
One year$3.33/month$3.33/month
Two years$2.75/month$2.03/month
Check PricingCheck Pricing

Private Internet Access comes with a quite simple pricing model. It does not require you to deliberate between necessary features and their price. Instead, the VPN provides all of its features with every plan. The only difference is the duration of the subscription.

PIA's cheapest plan is also the longest one — two years for only $2.03/month. The most expensive one is a single-month plan, which costs $11.99. The middle ground between these two options is a 6-month plan that costs $7.50 a month.

Keep in mind that Private Internet Access VPN doesn't have a free trial. The only reconciliation for those who want to try out the service is a 30-day money-back guarantee. Don't forget to grab our PIA coupon, to make sure you get the best deal possible.

IPVanish is slightly more expensive than Private Internet Access. However, when comparing PIA vs IPVanish, it's worth mentioning that IPVanish comes with more features that naturally increase the value.

A 1-month IPVanish plan costs $12.99 while an annual plan is priced at $3.33/month. But if you’re looking for the best deal, IPVanish 2-year plan is highly recommended – $2.75/month.

The best part about IPVanish is the unlimited simultaneous connections with all plans. Don’t forget that you can only get a 30-day money-back guarantee with the annual plan. Meanwhile, a 7-day free trial is only available for mobile devices.

All things considered, IPVanish is the winner of this round. It delivers a handful of relevant features, unlimited connections as well as excellent streaming performance. While PIA is slightly cheaper, one thing is clear — if you pay less, you also get less. But don't rely solely on our judgment. Instead, go to the features part of the review to see what both providers have to offer.

IPVanish vs PIA: which is more secure?

IPVanish
Private Internet Access
EncryptionAES-256-GCMAES-128-CBC (default), AES-256-CBC (more secure)
HashSHA-512SHA-1 and SHA-25
RAM serversNoYes
Based inUnited StatesUSA
No-logs policyAuditedAudited and court-proven
Kill switchYesYes
DNS leak protectionYesNo

It's clear that both Private Internet Access and IPVanish take security seriously. Both providers offer the strongest AES encryptions, don't log your data, and deliver a wide range of additional security features.

While IPVanish uses only the AES-256-GCM cipher alongside the SHA-512 hash function, PIA offers more variety. The provider has a default AES-128-CBC encryption with SHA-1 hash that can be changed to a stronger setting — AES-256-CBC with SHA-25.

But there’s a catch — PIA is better suited for advanced users. You will need to set up the VPN according to your needs. Therefore, first time users may not be comfortable or knowledgeable enough to change the default settings. Meanwhile, IPVanish offers the highest possible security with no deliberation on the users end.

Since these providers are established in the US, their promise of not keeping data logs may be questionable. But both have been independently audited, and no privacy flaws were found.

However, when it comes to data retention, one provider is more trustworthy than the other — it’s Private Internet Access. The main reason is that, unlike IPVanish, PIA is using RAM-only servers. These servers wipe the collected data upon reboot, guaranteeing full privacy.

On the other hand, IPVanish offers a different invaluable feature: DNS leak protection. It ensures that your ISP provider, or any other third party, can't get their hands on your browsing traffic in case of a DNS leak protection.

As you can see, both providers come with their own security benefits. Since, IPVanish and PIA take security very seriously, we are declaring a draw for this round.

Infrastructure

RAM-only servers are the best way to ensure complete privacy for your data. When you use a RAM-only server, all your traffic data is wiped upon reboot. Not only do they prevent your data from being stored, but they also stop data breaches. For this reason, all top providers offer them as a good measure of protection.

Unfortunately, IPVanish is not one of them. The provider is still in the process of moving towards running on RAM-only servers. As of yet, it’s unknown when the transition will be complete. Meanwhile, Private Internet Access has RAM-only servers covered.

Privacy

PIA guarantees privacy with several protocols and allows you to choose the level of protection you need. The provider delivers WireGuard, IKEv2/IPsec, and OpenVPN protocols, regarded as the most secure on the market. Additionally, OpenVPN comes with two different encryption options: the default AES-128 or the more secure AES-256 cipher. You can switch between the two on the app.

On top of that, Private Internet Access allows you to disable encryption entirely. It is especially helpful when privacy is less of a concern than speed. But don’t worry, your credentials will still be encrypted, and your IP will be hidden.

While not as customizable as PIA, IPVanish delivers a high level of privacy. It does so by using the industry standard encryption — 256-bit AES. With it comes tunneling protocols: Wireguard as well as OpenVPN (UDP/TCP) and IKEv2/IPsec.

Logging

Both providers claim not to log or sell your data. On the other hand, Private Internet Access collects your username, IP, and data usage, but this info is deleted as soon as you close the application. Meanwhile, IPVanish collects email addresses and payment methods.

Yet, it has not always been this way, at least when it comes to IPVanish. In the past, the provider collaborated with the FBI in at least one instance. The provider gave away email, account status, real IP address, and connection timestamps, aiding the authorities in catching a sexual predator.

However, IPVanish is now working hard to remedy its reputation. The current no-logs policy makes any further collaboration with government institutions impossible.

Whether the claims of no log policy is true, can only be proven by independent audits. Fortunately, both providers recently underwent thorough examinations and no privacy issues were found.

Speed comparison: IPVanish vs PIA

WireGuardIPVanishPrivate Internet Access
US (Download/Upload speed)
147 Mbps/211 Mbps1110 Mbps/168 Mbps
UK (Download/Upload speed)
165 Mbps/313 Mbps140 Mbps/222 Mbps
Canada (Download/Upload speed)260 Mbps/306 Mbps333 Mbps/226 Mbps

Let's get straight to the point — Private Internet Access is not the fastest provider on the market. That's where IPVanish has the edge. When compared, IPVanish delivers a much better speed.

Interestingly, both providers use the WireGuard protocol. It is regarded as the fastest protocol on the market right now. However, it doesn't work at enhancing speed that well for PIA. This provider's performance is merely decent.

Our recorded average drop in download speed over the five locations was 56%. WireGuard also retained 54% of the original upload speed on average.

IPVanish, on the other hand, is undeniably fast. Our tests have shown fast download speeds, retaining around 80-90% of the original performance in key locations.

Features overview

CategoryIPVanishPrivate Internet Access
Split tunneling
Encrypted storage
Auto connect
SOCKS5 proxy
Port forwarding
Traffic obfuscation
Ad blocker
Kill switch

On top of the basic VPN feature, both PIA and IPVanish provide additional tools. This way, providers ensure security, privacy, and an excellent browsing experience. The most helpful features are SOCKS5 proxy, split tunneling, and kill switch, among many others.

However, there are some differences between the two. IPVanish comes with more features than Private Internet Access. It delivers traffic obfuscation, encrypted storage, and a flexible auto-connect feature.However, PIA comes with something IPVanish slacks — port forwarding and ad blocker.

While PIA delivers a solid arsenal of features, IPVanish provides more value to its users. Thus, we declare it the winner of the IPVanish vs PIA features part of this review.

Split tunneling

Split tunneling is necessary when users need more control over their VPN setup. This feature allows choosing apps that can connect to the internet while bypassing the VPN connection. This way, the selected apps will connect with your real IP, while others run on VPN simultaneously.

split tunneling pia

When we tested PIA's split tunneling feature, we found that it works only with certain apps. For instance, there were no issues with Google Chrome. However, Oracle VM VirtualBox should take note that split tunneling may not work for them.

When it comes to IPVanish, the split tunneling feature works well. Yet, there's a catch. Unlike PIA, which provides the feature on Windows, Linux, macOS and Android, IPVanish’ split tunneling only works on Android devices. So, it's perfect if you're planning on using the VPN on your mobile, but it's a shame it's unavailable on desktop or macOS devices.

Encrypted storage

Encrypted storage is quite a rare feature for a VPN. Nevertheless, it's a useful one. After all, we all have sensitive files to protect.

Unfortunately, Private Internet Access doesn't have this feature. Meanwhile, IPVanish offers safe storage called SugarSync. It lets you store up to 500 GB of files for a small extra fee on top of your IPVanish subscription.

The best part about SugarSync is the easy upload feature. You can simply forward emails with attachments to a unique email address, and the files will immediately appear on the cloud.

Auto connect

Another great asset that comes with IPVanish is the so-called On Demand feature. It allows you to set rules instructing when the VPN should connect automatically.

IPVanish on demand new UI

The features come with a variety of settings. For example, you can set it up to always connect automatically when your device boots. Or when you connect to specific public wifi, such as a favorite coffee shop.

SOCKS5 proxy

SOCKS5 is one of the fastest proxies that allow you to redirect the VPN connection through an additional location for an extra layer of anonymity. It completely hides your real IP address, making SOCKS5 a great tool for torrenting.

Private Internet Access lets you choose between the SOCKS5 Proxy and Shadowsocks. The proxies offer six countries: the UK, Switzerland, Canada, the US, Israel, and Japan. While both of them are efficient, Shadowsocks is the more powerful one — it can bypass the Great Firewall of China.

IPVanish offers a SOCKS5 proxy with its subscription as well. While the proxy can remove your IP address, it has some limitations. For example, when compared to PIA’s Shadowsocks, the IPVanish SOCKS5 proxy is not as efficient. So don’t expect it to work in China.

Port forwarding

If you ever end up in a situation where you need to connect to another device remotely, PIA will have you covered. The provider offers an advanced port forwarding feature.

Yet, no matter how useful, the feature is a bit frustrating. Here’s the issue we had: a forwarded port gets assigned to you randomly. This means that you need to configure your network to forward that port as well. Furthermore, PIA’s US servers don’t support port forwarding at all.

Other notable features

Both providers offer other features as well. For example, Private Internet Access boasts an effective ad-blocking feature called MACE. It works by blocking DNS, and as a result, you won't be seeing intrusive ads, pop-ups, banners, and even YouTube ads.

The best part about MACE is that it offers well-rounded protection. Not only does it block malicious ads, but it also protects you from dangerous websites as well.

While IPVanish doesn't offer an ad blocker, it also has something PIA doesn't — traffic obfuscation. The feature allows you to hide the fact that you're using a VPN. It works by enabling XOR cipher for your traffic, which wipes the traces your VPN's tunneling protocols leave behind. This feature is handy if your government has implemented firewalls with a deep-packet inspection to block VPN usage.

Server locations

Large server count is not the most important criteria when choosing a VPN, but it surely does matter. After all, wide range of regions allows you to unblock geo-restricted content, meanwhile a large server fleet prevents traffic congestion

IPVanishPrivate Internet Access
Servers220030000
Countries 52
91
Americas
412
Europe
3042
Asia and Oceanic region1125
Middle East & AfricaN/A5

Considering both the server fleet and a number of countries, it’s clear that Private Internet Access wins this round. PIA boasts over 3000 servers that are scattered globally in 83 countries. Meanwhile, IPVanish offers 2000 servers in only 50 locations worldwide.

Torrenting

IPVanish and PIA are relatively good torrenting providers, but which is better? Let's take a look.

Private Internet Access is great for torrenting because it supports P2P on all of its servers. It also provides SOCKS5 and the Shadowsocks proxies to reroute your traffic and hide your IP address.

But the best part about it is its speed. We reached 10-15 MB/s speeds (80-120 Mbps) during our tests. We were pleasantly surprised by the result, especially compared to all the other torrenting VPNs we tested.

Now, what about IPVanish? Truth be told, when compared to PIA, IPVanish could be more impressive. It provides all necessary torrenting features, such as P2P servers for speed increase and a free SOCKS5 proxy for anonymity. Despite these features, IPVanish didn't match PIA's speed and performance. During our tests, the download speed was 7-8MB/s (56-64mbps).

Without a doubt, PIA has an edge when it comes to torrenting. Fast speed and security features have placed this provider ahead of the competition.

Platforms, interface and ease of use

IPVanishPrivate Internet Access
Supported OSWindows, Mac, Android, iOSWindows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Opera
Other software and devicesAndroid TV, Fire devices, Apple TVAndroid TV, Fire devices
Browser extensionsN/AChrome, Firefox, Edge, Brave, Opera
Simultaneous connectionsUnlimitedUnlimited
Usability levelEasy to useNeeds some experience

When it comes to platform support, both providers deliver a similar variety. You'll be able to connect to VPN on your devices, whether you're an Android, Linux, Windows, or macOS fan. Yet, there are some differences between IPVanish and PIA.

First of all, IPVanish doesn't offer any browser extensions. So you won't be able to change any VPN settings without switching between your browser and the app. Meanwhile, Private Internet Access delivers extensions for all major browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Brave, and Opera.

Then, there are simultaneous connections. IPVanish is especially generous with this as it offers an unlimited amount of connections. On the other hand, PIA offers less — 10 simultaneous connections. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Many providers offer a lot less than that. And let’s be honest, there may not be many situations where you need to run more than ten devices at once — unless you're sharing the VPN with family and friends.

Other than compatibility, it's also important to compare the user experience. But there are barely any differences between these providers. Both PIA and IPVanish deliver well-designed, smooth interfaces for all of their apps. However, to gain the full benefits of PIA, you will be required to change default settings. This may be challenging for first-time users.

Overall, these differences seem minor, making it a close competition between the two providers. However, we were sold on unlimited simultaneous connections. Thus, we nominate IPVanish as the winner of the ease of use round.

Desktop apps

Let's take a look at PIA's Windows desktop application. Without a doubt, it is user-friendly and easy to navigate. The app's main interface includes a dashboard that displays the user's connection status, paired with an easy-to-find on-and-off switch.

pia windows app interface

The app also features plenty of other useful information about your connection, like the protocol, encryption, port, and authentication cipher. All of this is wrapped in a sleek and pleasant design.

PIA's macOS app is very similar to the Windows application. Overall, it's a well-designed application with excellent usability.

pia mac interface

A nice benefit that comes with PIA's VPN is an app for Linux. The setup of it is quite simple. All you need to do is download an installation script and run it—the interface and features are exactly the same as those of Windows and macOS apps.

Now, let's take a look at what IPvanish has to offer. When it comes to a Windows app, it provides a sleek, clean, and well-designed user interface.

IPVanish interface desktop

The main dashboard displays the connection status and allows you to quickly connect and disconnect from the VPN, as well as switch between protocols. It's also easy to customize. The settings tabs provide many relevant configuration settings for the connection, split-tunneling, IP rotation and others.

The macOS app is not that different in design. It has a similar user interface that doesn't pose any usability issues. However, the app itself is less customizable than Windows, allowing slightly less flexibility for the user.

Mobile apps

Private Internet Access provides very similar functionality and design for both Android and iOS. These apps look quite similar, both in regard to design and features. Expect to be comfortable with any or both of these apps.

pia android UI

When it comes to IPVanish apps, usability is just as good as PIAs. However, we noticed that the design on iOS is slightly better. However, that doesn't mean that the Android app's usability is worse. Both apps are easy to navigate.

IPVanish Android interface

Customer support

IPVanishPrivate Internet Access
24/7 live chat

Email

Phone line
Guides or articles

FAQs

At some point, you’re bound to run into a problem. Whether it may be an issue with a VPN setup or payments — only the customer support can sort it out. While some VPN providers, especially the free ones, are notorious for poor customer service, fortunately, PIA and IPVanish are not the case.

IPVanish and PIA are well-established VPN providers offering a range of services to help answer user queries. Both providers offer extensive guides, articles, and FAQs to help you get started with your VPN.

In case you prefer talking with an actual person regarding your issues, you can turn to 24/7 live chat, call or email the providers. From our experience, IPVanish and PIA’s agents were polite and helpful.

To sum up, both providers have equally good customer service. No matter the issue you’re having, you’ll be able to get assistance.

IPVanish vs Private Internet Access – which one wins?

CategoryIPVanishPrivate Internet Access
Streaming

Price

Protection
Ease of use

Speed
Features
Server locations
Torrenting
Customer support

It’s time to sum up the vast results of our review. As you can see, IPVanish turned out to be a better choice than PIA, although it was a close competition.

IPVanish has excelled in the most important areas. First of all, the provider is excellent for unblocking streaming services. Second, IPVanish is the undeniable winner of the speed competition. Not to mention that it comes with plenty of additional features and excellent security measures.

Meanwhile, Private Internet Access demonstrated surprising performance when we tested its torrenting capabilities. The provider also boasts a larger and more diverse server fleet and even offers an ad blocker. However, PIA can’t match IPVanish in terms of value, streaming capabilities and speed.

It’s worth noting that both providers are just as efficient in terms of security. They are loaded with features that will keep your browsing traffic, IP and other personal information secure. Additionally, PIA and IPVanish have great customer support. These providers won’t leave you hanging with whatever issue you may have.

While both IPVanish and PIA come with their own benefits, IPVanish has the edge. But if you are hesitating about whether IPVanish is the right choice for you, don't forget that it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.


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