Cord Cutting Guides, News, and Reviews
IPVanish vs ExpressVPN
February 17, 2021
Do you know that meme with two identical versions of Spider-Man pointing at one another? Sometimes, comparing VPNs can feel like that: you may have trouble figuring out which is which! Luckily, we won’t have that issue today as we look at IPVanish vs. ExpressVPN. While some VPNs feel like twin Spider-Mans, these two feel as different as Batman and Aquaman. Today, we’re going to run down how each performs in various categories, then tell you who does what better. By the time you reach the end of this piece, you should have a clear idea of which VPN provider will meet your needs the best.
Two of the most important things about a VPN service are its server count and its support for streaming services like Netflix.
IPVanish, sadly, doesn’t perform all that well in these departments. Roughly 1,700 servers in 55 countries is nothing to sneeze at, but it definitely doesn’t hold a candle to what ExpressVPN has available. And if you want to stream content remotely using IPVanish, you might want to reconsider your options. In our IPVanish review, we couldn’t get Netflix to work as reliably as we wanted. Other services, such as Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, didn’t work at all. That’s something to keep in mind if servers and streaming are important to you.
Over on the ExpressVPN side, however, you’ll probably be pretty happy with what you get. ExpressVPN has about 3,000 servers located in 94 countries around the world. If you want a server in a specific region, the odds are good that you’ll find it. And streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video work like a charm with ExpressVPN. The company does a good enough job getting by any blockades a streaming service might try to throw up. You’ll rarely encounter an issue while trying to view the content you’re interested in.
Security is at the core of what a VPN is supposed to do. Above all else, VPNs are about protecting you online, encrypting your internet traffic so that your personal data stays safe.
IPVanish has five different protocols available for use: IKEv2, OpenVPN, L2TP, IPsec, and PPTP. Unfortunately, things aren’t all that consistent across platforms. IPSEC is dropped on Windows, and PPTP is available on nothing but Windows. Strange, indeed.
We also don’t love the fact that IPVanish is located in the United States. Though the service does claim to have a no-logs policy, the U.S. is part of the Five Eyes alliance, giving the country’s government the power to seize information from VPN services.
ExpressVPN, meanwhile, supports multiple security protocols across all of its platforms. Those protocols include OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard, and SSTP. Regardless of which platform you’re on, ExpressVPN does a better job keeping your VPN experience the same.
Another point goes to ExpressVPN for where it is based. ExpressVPN is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands. While it also has a no-logs policy just as IPVanish does, the British Virgin Islands are free of data retention laws and have no data-sharing agreements with other countries. If you’re concerned about prying government eyes, that is much better news for you.
VPNs encrypt and reroute internet traffic, and that process can cost you some internet speed. But how much a VPN will slow you down can vary between brands, and in the battle of IPVanish vs. ExpressVPN, this is another area where these two services come out on different ends of the spectrum.
IPVanish seems more likely to downgrade your internet speed than ExpressVPN. Our review of the IPVanish found that, when connected to the fastest VPN option available, speeds dropped by as much as 30 Mbps. If you’re on a super-fast connection, that kind of cut may not be all that noticeable. If you’re on a 50 Mbps connection, however, that is over half of your speed gone. That’s a big deal.
In our testing, ExpressVPN didn’t hit the same snags. In our ExpessVPN review, speed drops were very minimal — in fact, at times, it felt like ExpressVPN made no impact at all on our speed tests. Your mileage may vary, of course, but it was clear in our speed tests that ExpressVPN performed consistently better than IPVanish.
We talk a fair amount about what is expected of a VPN service — the kinds of things it should do right out of the gate, no questions asked. Some go above and beyond that, though, adding some other bells and whistles.
IPVanish kind of skimps here, and you may find that disappointing. As we pointed out in our review, this isn’t a dealbreaker — IPVanish still does its core job well — but we would have liked to have seen a bit more beyond relatively basic features like the “kill switch.” The good news was that we found IPVanish’s interface easy to use.
ExpressVPN doesn’t pack in many extras, either, but it does the important things well and features what is arguably an even more appealing user interface. The ExpressVPN interface is very streamlined and straightforward.
And then there is the price to factor in. To be frank, neither of these two providers offer impressive discounts when compared to other VPN services. For a one-month subscription, you’ll pay $9.99 for IPVanish and $12.95 for ExpressVPN. It’s clear who gets the advantage there. Extend that out to 12 months, though, and things get a tad bit closer. One year of IPVanish equates to roughly $6.49 per month, while an annual plan for ExpressVPN rings up at $8.32. At their yearly paid-upfront rates, both IPVanish and ExpressVPN are left in the dust by many competitors. Of the two, ExpressVPN does more to justify its pricing with its performance.
At the end of the day, the IPVanish vs. ExpressVPN fight isn’t all that close. It just isn’t. We usually have more nuanced things to say about our comparisons, but this one is unusually clear-cut.
For most people, ExpressVPN is going to be the better of these two VPN services. It has more servers in more countries. It’s more consistent in terms of the security it offers across platforms. Streaming is far more reliable on ExpressVPN than on IPVanish. ExpressVPN won’t kneecap your speeds to quite the degree IPVanish will.
With that said, if you’re a budget-conscious VPN shopper, IPVanish may still be attractive to you. You’ll save more money over the course of a year by going with IPVanish, and though the amount you save may be small, it is still cash you get to keep in your pocket.
It’ll be up to you to figure out where you stand. Do you want the VPN that does more of the good things well, or do you want the one that’ll save you the most money? Once you have that figured out, you should be able to make your selection.
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