ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: Detailed Comparison

ExpressVPN vs. IPVanish

Looking at ExpressVPN vs. IPVanish shows that there are some great features provided by both VPN services, but the lack of access to Netflix and less reliable logging policy leaves IPVanish as the less trustworthy option. ExpressVPN continues to provide speedy connections and a multitude of servers for its users.

ExpressVPN vs. IPVanish

Finding the right VPN service is about more than who has the fastest speeds and the highest number of servers. Savvy users will be looking for specific features such as reliability, device support, logging practices, and other security-related concerns.

Our review of ExpressVPN vs. IPVanish shows the many features users can enjoy, and the critical security characteristics to consider before making a decision.

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IPVanish logo

About VPNs

Using a VPN connection can help protect your device by encrypting the data that transmits over the network and masking the IP address of your device. For many users, a VPN connection can help them access sites that are blocked in their geographical location, and can also add a layer of security when using unsecured internet connections.

Unsecured networks are commonly found in places like coffee shops, hotels, stores, and other public places that offer free Wi-Fi or other access to an internet connection. Users who connect their device to one of these networks risk their data and personal information as they browse and much of their internet browsing is likely tracked. 

Internet service providers (ISPs) and governments may also track user habits while online, and a VPN connection can be useful if you wish to torrent or stream media that is blocked in your country. VPNs are also helpful when users need to access confidential information from a network they cannot access directly.

A good VPN service will support a wide variety of devices and will offer users a speedy connection through a variety of servers. Users will want to use a VPN service that has many different servers for them to connect to so that they can switch if their connection is too slow.

Features

Looking at ExpressVPN vs. IPVanish shows that both companies have some impressive features that will allow users to utilize the VPN software efficiently but also help to keep their data secure. ExpressVPN is probably best known for their split tunnel option that allows specific traffic to be routed through the VPN while allowing other traffic to use the regular internet connection.

This feature can help speed up the users browsing experience by not making the VPN encrypt every piece of data, and it can also be useful if there are situations where a VPN cannot be used, but you don't want to expose all of your applications to access the internet.

Both services offer obfuscation features that help to get around VPN blocks, and there is also advanced protection against IP and DNS leaks. Both ExpressVPN and IPVanish have well-developed kill switches, but the similarities in features basically stop there.

ExpressVPN offers several more features that IPVanish doesn’t have such as access to streaming sites like Netflix, support for gaming systems and Smart TVs, and browser extensions. ExpressVPN also has better DNS security and advanced protection against IPv4 and IPv6 leaks.

Both ExpressVPN and IPVanish support a wide range of devices that include Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, routers, and browsers. When users navigate to either company website, they can easily download the right application to set up their VPN quickly.

Reliability

There’s more to consider than the speed of a VPN, and reliability can be equally or more important than speed in certain situations. ExpressVPN has a solid reputation for delivering some of the best speeds in the VPN industry, and they continue to improve their performance and work to ensure that their service is consistent without unnecessary interruptions.

IPVanish is also relatively reliable and in some ways is a close competitor to ExpressVPN; however, testing has uncovered specific issues that users should be made aware are present. IPVanish has a tendency to take longer when attempting to form a connection to a server when compared to ExpressVPN. 

The wait time with IPVanish can be several seconds which is a long time when compared to the near-instant connections experienced with ExpressVPN. The ability to quickly form reliable connections can significantly improve the user experience in the long run, and when paying for a VPN service users should expect speedy connections that are near instant.

Speed and Connections

Speed is another area where ExpressVPN vs. IPVanish yields a somewhat comparable result as both services operate fairly consistently and with speeds that are above average in the industry. With a baseline connection of 100Mbps, ExpressVPN was able to connect to a nearby server with speeds of 94Mbps, and a long-distance server location with speeds around 78Mbps.

IPVanish also tested well with local speeds hovering around 95Mbps, and long-distance speeds coming in at 73Mbps. The previous testing showed that ExpressVPN had speeds that far exceeded those that could be expected from IPVanish, but recent updates have helped IPVanish improve their performance significantly. 

Connections are another crucial piece of VPN performance, and surprisingly it's IPVanish that outcompetes ExpressVPN in this area. IPVanish allows for up to ten connections which is much more than ExpressVPNs limit of three.

Ten connections per subscription is one of the best connection policies available with a close competitor being NordVPN which allows seven. Families or users who have a number of devices will significantly benefit from this connection policy and the only VPN service that can beat this is Perfect Privacy who offers unlimited connections.

Security and Logging

Security is a big issue when it comes to selecting a VPN, and third-party testing has put both ExpressVPN and IPVanish through their paces to determine where potential leaks are and if any problems exist. So far both services have passed all standard security tests, and both have protection for both DNS and IP addresses that is appropriate.

Both companies also have a kill switch that works in a similar way, and ExpressVPN has a slightly better design called Network Lock which alerts you when there's an interruption in your internet service, and the kill switch activates.

A quality kill switch design is vital as it protects your IP address from being exposed if there is an interruption in your internet connection. Even a few seconds can expose your device, your IP, and sensitive information that a VPN would otherwise protect.

Both ExpressVPN and IPVanish also use 256-bit encryption which is currently the industry standard and what users can reasonably expect in a VPN service. ExpressVPN and IPVanish use the OpenVPN protocol alongside this encryption which is also a well-tested and reliable protocol.

Even the most privacy-conscious user would applaud the encryption rate and protocol that these companies use, but logging is another topic that is a hot topic for discussion. ExpressVPN has had servers seized in the past in Turkey where the government recovered no logs or any useful data as they had hoped.

This event succinctly proved that ExpressVPN is truly not logging information about their customers and their initial refusal to allow the Turkish government access is comforting as it shows they are not likely to cave under governmental pressure.

It's also a bonus that the servers contained no user data whatsoever which backs up the company’s policy that they are 100% no logging when it comes to customer data.

IPVanish has a slightly different history when it comes to logging, and in 2018 there was a news story about a customer's data being handed over to US authorities who had been investigating criminal activity.

IPVanish defended itself by stating that the information provided to authorities was when the company was being managed by different owners and a different team, and they had since adhered strictly to their no log policy. IPVanish has also gone on the record to state that they are committed to user privacy and in the same situation would not have data to hand over to authorities.

Regardless of the claims that IPVanish has made and what went on when the company was under other management, ExpressVPN is still the better choice for users who are concerned about logging practices.

Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction is another topic where users should be concerned and verify where a company is based. If a company is founded in the wrong country, user data could be subject to seizure due to the company being under the laws of that country.

Many VPN companies choose to base themselves out of countries that are unlikely to force them to hand over data or where they can freely delete or handle data as they please. ExpressVPN and IPVanish are very different in this regard, and their locations have several implications.

IPVanish is based out of the United States which is not an ideal location for many reasons. The United States is part of the “Five Eyes” alliance that means that surveillance data can be collected and shared with other countries in the group.

This alliance means that if your data is seized, it could possibly be shared with the authorities in multiple other countries and therefore most of the civilized world. This location understandably makes some users skittish about using this company for their VPN as it also means that IPVanish would have to comply with all United States laws.

Fortunately, IPVanish does not keep logs of user data, so theoretically there would be nothing for them to turn over to the US government should they make a request. Even if servers belonging to IPVanish were seized, there shouldn't be any user data saved there.

ExpressVPN is based out of the Virgin Islands which is a bonus for several reasons but primarily is a good location because there is a respect for privacy. The Virgin Islands are an independent country located in the Caribbean that has a history of preserving privacy.

ExpressVPN definitely has IPVanish beat when it comes to jurisdiction, and the comparison is not a close one.

Streaming and Torrenting

A critical feature that users love about a VPN service is the ability to access Netflix as users can view content that the streaming service provides from any country where a VPN server can be accessed. For example, if a user accesses a VPN server in Europe, they’ll be able to see what shows Netflix provides in that region.

For those who are expats, the ability to use a VPN to access Netflix in this way allows them to see the shows they used to watch in their home country. Some VPN services are suitable for watching Netflix, while others are not a great option.

ExpressVPN is one of the best VPN services if you want to access Netflix and it ranks so highly primarily because there are so many servers available to users. Other services are not so good as the streaming site has begun to block servers that it knows direct VPN traffic.

An unfortunate victim of this blocking is IPVanish who acknowledges openly that their VPN is not a good choice for users who want to access Netflix. The company’s servers have been targeted and blocked by Netflix ruthlessly since IPVanish started out as a company, and there doesn’t seem to be any signs of that changing in the future.

When it comes to torrenting the playing field is a bit more even with IPVanish and ExpressVPN being quite a bit more comparable. Both VPN services are very secure and offer fast speeds so in theory, using either one to torrent shouldn't be an issue.

However, this is where jurisdiction comes in as IPVanish is based in the United States where DMCA copyright laws exist, and torrenting frequently violates these laws. ExpressVPN is not subject to these laws at all since they are based out of the Virgin Islands.

So, if you are a user looking to torrent files, then ExpressVPN is your better option. IPVanish would be required to comply with US law which obligates them to act on DMCA requests and take copyright-based actions against their individual users.

Price and Payments

Neither ExpressVPN or IPVanish offer free trials, but both offer a money back guarantee after you purchase a subscription plan. ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee and three different plans which include:

  • 1 Month for $12.95
  • 6 Months for $9.99 per month
  • 12 Months for $8.32 per month

IPVanish offers a seven-day money back guarantee and a very similar setup for their subscription plans which are presented as follows: 

  • 1 Month for $10
  • 3 Months for $8.99 per month
  • 12 Months for $6.49 per month

If cost is the only factor then IPVanish is the clear winner; however, there are other factors besides features to consider when comparing these two services. IPVanish only accepts a limited number of payment methods that are comprised mainly of credit cards, but they also take PayPal.

ExpressVPN takes all major credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and several other payment services popular in different parts of the world. Their wide range of accepted payments almost guarantees that a customer could purchase this service in such a way that their anonymity remains intact.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a fully functional VPN service and not just the least expensive one available, then ExpressVPN is the best option. Although it only allows up to three connections, the software can be installed on a router and used by any number of devices that connect to that router.

ExpressVPN is also compatible with Netflix which is a significant reason many users get a VPN connection. There is also the fact that ExpressVPN is based in the Virgin Islands instead of the United States which helps to protect users from DMCA requests and other government interference further.

ExpressVPN also has an outstanding reputation for not logging information about their users, and the unfortunate seizing of their servers in Turkey is proof enough that they stick to their no logging policy. IPVanish may have handed over user data in the past, but they vow not to fulfill any further requests. 

Overall, ExpressVPN is the more qualified VPN service that's based out of the right geographical location and has a proven respect for user privacy. Although ExpressVPN may cost a bit more, the expense is well worth the additional features and peace of mind.

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