Nearly everyone looking for a good VPN service has come across IPVanish and ExpressVPN. Both of these VPNs check different boxes, but only one came out on top in our tests. In fact, we examined each VPN in 12 different categories of tests for this ExpressVPN vs IPVanish comparison.
As you’ll see in the test results below, there was one VPN that dominated nearly every single category. Here are the different areas we examined and tested for this IPVanish vs ExpressVPN comparison:
- Speed – Numerous servers tested in the United States and Europe
- VPN Apps – Does ExpressVPN or IPVanish offer the best VPN apps?
- Features – Which VPN has the best features?
- Connections – How many connections do you get with a subscription?
- Security and Encryption – Is ExpressVPN or IPVanish more secure?
- Logs and privacy – What is the logging policy?
- Jurisdiction – Where is the VPN located and how does this affect data security?
- Torrenting – Which VPN is best for torrenting?
- Netflix & streaming – Which VPN is best for Netflix and other streaming services?
- Price – Which VPN offers the lowest prices?
- Payments & refunds – Payment options and refund policies
- Value – Which VPN is the best value for your money?
Without further delay, let’s examine the results, starting with speed tests.
ExpressVPN vs IPVanish speed tests
In this ExpressVPN vs IPVanish speed comparison, I tested both VPNs with different server locations around the world. I conducted all tests on a 500 Mbps baseline connection.
Note: ExpressVPN has launched a big performance upgrade with the Lightway protocol. In our tests, this protocol delivers much faster speeds than OpenVPN. Lightway is similar to WireGuard and we used it for the tests below. IPVanish does not support these faster protocols and still relies mainly on OpenVPN.
Test 1: Seattle, USA
This ExpressVPN server in Seattle gave me about 136 Mbps:
This isn’t great, but it’s also not horrible. Let’s see if IPVanish is faster than ExpressVPN for this location.
Here was the IPVanish server in Seattle, giving me about 79 Mbps:
ExpressVPN was the clear winner in this location, coming in around 57 Mbps faster than IPVanish.
Next, I tested servers in Los Angeles.
Test 2: Los Angeles, USA
Here was the ExpressVPN server in Los Angeles with speeds around 209 Mbps:
At over 200 Mbps, this is a good speed test result from ExpressVPN.
Here was the IPVanish server in Los Angeles, coming in around 68 Mbps:
ExpressVPN was faster than IPVanish for this location as well, beating it by about 141 Mbps.
Test 3: New York, USA
Next up was New York. Here was the ExpressVPN server in New York at about 214 Mbps:
Now let’s compare this to IPVanish. Here was the IPVanish server in New York at around 5 Mbps:
This is a horrible speed test result from IPVanish at around 5 Mbps. This means that ExpressVPN is over 200 Mbps faster than IPVanish for this location.
Lastly, I tested a few servers in the United Kingdom.
Test 4: United Kingdom
Here was the ExpressVPN server in the UK at around 235 Mbps:
This is another great speed test result from ExpressVPN. Now let’s see if IPVanish can do better.
Here was the IPVanish server in the UK at only around 43 Mbps:
Overall, we see that ExpressVPN is much faster than IPVanish in all locations tested.
One of the main reasons ExpressVPN is faster is because it now offers the Lightway protocol, which I found to be faster than OpenVPN. We also found IPVanish to lag behind in the Surfshark vs IPVanish comparison, with Surfshark using the WireGuard protocol.
Speed winner: ExpressVPN
Note on speeds: This is not the only speed comparison where IPVanish came out behind. It also lagged behind NordVPN by an even larger margin in the NordVPN vs IPVanish comparison guide.
VPN apps: Is ExpressVPN or IPVanish better?
Another big consideration when comparing ExpressVPN to IPVanish is the quality of the VPN apps. For both ExpressVPN and IPVanish, I tested out the VPN apps on Windows and Mac OS desktop computers, as well as mobile devices.
The VPN apps from ExpressVPN have always worked well for me in testing. ExpressVPN offers dedicated apps for:
- Mac OS
- Android (see our Android VPN comparison)
- Kindle Fire
- Firestick and Fire TV (one of the best VPNs for Firestick that we tested)
Unlike with IPVanish, ExpressVPN also offers browser extensions, such as using a VPN for Firefox or Chrome browsers. With the ExpressVPN MediaStreamer app, it also works with Smart TVs, gaming systems, and other devices that don’t directly support VPNs. This makes it a great option if you need VPN for Apple TV.
In terms of performance, ExpressVPN’s apps work very well. I did not find any issues with bugs, crashes, or stalling. Everything just worked well. Below is the ExpressVPN Windows app I tested out for the ExpressVPN review. Notice the easy one-click server connection options and minimal design:
Now let’s compare The ExpressVPN apps to those of IPVanish.
IPVanish also offers a large selection of apps for all major devices and operating systems:
- Mac OS (see our guide on the best VPNs for Mac OS)
- Fire TV
- Chrome OS
In the performance category, the IPVanish apps did not perform as reliably as ExpressVPN. IPVanish would occasionally time out when attempting to connect to a VPN server. Here you can see IPVanish timing out during connection with the constantly-spinning “Connecting” wheel:
Unlike with IPVanish, I did not experience any connection timeouts, bugs, or errors with ExpressVPN. The apps with IPVanish also feel a bit more clunky and outdated when compared to ExpressVPN.
VPN apps winner: ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN and IPVanish are both somewhat limited in terms of features, but there’s still a winner for this category.
First we’ll look at ExpressVPN. ExpressVPN continues to release new features, updates, and improvements. Here’s an overview:
- Split tunneling – The split tunneling VPN feature allows you to route applications or websites outside the VPN tunnel.
- MediaStreamer app – The MediaStreamer app allows you to use ExpressVPN on devices that don’t normally work with VPNs.
- Browser extensions – ExpressVPN has browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari that are open source and incorporate HTTPS Everywhere from EFF. (We rated it as one of the best VPNs for Chrome.)
- VPN router app – If you want to use a VPN on your router, ExpressVPN offers a very user-friendly way to do so with a dedicated router app.
- Full streaming support – Whether you want to stream Netflix or you need a VPN for Kodi, ExpressVPN offers full support for all major streaming services.
ExpressVPN also offers a built-in obfuscation feature that works with some of the servers in the network. This feature hides VPN traffic, allowing you to use VPNs where they may be blocked, such as in China (see the best VPN for China).
Now let’s examine IPVanish’s features.
In comparison to ExpressVPN, IPVanish is somewhat limited on features. It does not offer any split tunneling, browser extensions, or MediaStreamer apps. With regard to unblocking websites for streaming (like Netflix), IPVanish also does not do well, as you’ll see below.
Here are the main features of IPVanish:
- Obfuscation feature to defeat VPN blocks (they refer to this as “Scramble”)
- IP and DNS leak protection (but no WebRTC leak protection)
- Kill switch to block non-VPN traffic
IPVanish is limited on features when compared to ExpressVPN.
Note: If you really want a fully-featured VPN service, you may want to check out NordVPN. It offers a built-in ad blocker, double-VPN servers, Tor-over-VPN servers, and good leak protection settings. For a detailed analysis, see the ExpressVPN vs NordVPN comparison.
Features winner: ExpressVPN
Number of connections per subscription
In the connections category, there is a big difference and IPVanish comes out on top.
As discussed in the IPVanish review, it is a great VPN if you need a lot of connections. Their website states that you can have “as many connections as you like” from your account — in other words, you get an unlimited number of connections. There are a few other VPNs that offer unlimited connections, which we noted in the Surfshark review.
In comparison to IPVanish, ExpressVPN offers fewer connections, but still more than enough. With ExpressVPN, you can use five simultaneous connections on your account. Note that you can use ExpressVPN with as many devices as you like, but only five can be connected at the same time.
Do you need more than five simultaneous connections? If so, you may want to opt for IPVanish over ExpressVPN. However, it’s difficult to imagine how one would use more than two or three connections at the same time.
Connections winner: IPVanish
Security and Encryption comparison
I also ran both IPVanish and ExpressVPN’s apps through a number of different tests to check for IP address leaks and DNS leaks. Both did well.
IPVanish leak test results – With IPVanish, I did not find any leaks with the Windows, Mac OS, and Android apps.
I also tested the kill switch to see if it effectively blocked traffic when the VPN connection dropped. Everything worked well.
ExpressVPN leak test results – ExpressVPN also passed all security tests. There were no leaks or security issues identified with any of the apps.
In comparison to IPVanish, I liked ExpressVPN’s kill switch feature better, which they call “Network Lock”. The Network Lock also alerts you when the connection has been interrupted and shows when Network Lock is active. With IPVanish, there are no notifications. You just see the spinning wheel (above).
Encryption – Both ExpressVPN and IPVanish use the OpenVPN protocol with 256-bit AES encryption by default in their apps.
At this time, only IPVanish supports the WireGuard VPN protocol. WireGuard is a newer protocol that offers the fastest speeds, better reliability, and latest updates with encryption technology. If you want to use the WireGuard protocol, then you could check out VyprVPN or NordVPN, as well as Surfshark.
One big update on the encryption front is ExpressVPN’s Lightway protocol. This has many similarities to WireGuard and was very fast in our tests for the ExpressVPN review. Below you can see the Lightway protocol is easily enabled in the settings of the ExpressVPN client.
Now let’s examine how ExpressVPN and IPVanish are different with server security.
Server security – ExpressVPN sets a very high standard for server security with their TrustedServer feature. This feature ensures all ExpressVPN servers run in RAM-disk (with no hard drives). This means it is impossible to store any logs on VPN servers while also offering a higher level of data security.
Unlike with ExpressVPN, IPVanish does not run any of their servers in RAM-disk. This could put IPVanish users at risk if there was ever a server seizure.
Audits – ExpressVPN has successfully passed a third-party security audit performed by Cure53, a cybersecurity firm in Berlin, Germany. It has also passed audits confirming its no-logs status, as we’ll discuss below.
Unlike with ExpressVPN, IPVanish has not undergone any audits (that we know of). Other VPNs that have passed security audits include Surfshark and NordVPN.
Security winner: ExpressVPN
Logs and Privacy: ExpressVPN vs IPVanish
Even though ExpressVPN and IPVanish both claim to have “no logs” policies, each has a unique history with their logging claims. First we will start with the good, before moving on to the not-so-good.
ExpressVPN – ExpressVPN is one of a handful of verified no logs VPN services.
In addition to the audit, ExpressVPN has passed a real-world test. Back in 2017, the Turkish government demanded that ExpressVPN provide user data from one of its VPN servers. ExpressVPN denied the request, saying it had no data to provide. The Turkish government then went and physically seized the VPN server, but still recovered nothing.
Unlike ExpressVPN, IPVanish has failed a real-world test with privacy and data logs.
IPVanish – Unfortunately, the logging case with IPVanish is not so reassuring. In 2018, news broke about IPVanish logging one customer’s connection data and providing this to US authorities who were investigating a crime.
When I reached out for comment on the case, IPVanish explained that this was from a case in 2016, when it was under different ownership and management. Here is the statement IPVanish gave me, which references the previous owner of IPVanish (StackPath):
That court case was from 2016 – long before StackPath acquired IPVanish in 2017. IPVanish does not, has not, and will not log or store logs of our users as a StackPath company. We can’t speak to what happened on someone else’s watch, and that management team is long gone. In addition to not logging, StackPath will defend the privacy of our users, regardless of who demands otherwise.
Today, IPVanish is owned by J2 Global, a large digital media conglomerate. And even after the logging scandal, IPVanish still has not undergone any audits to verify the current “no logs” policies.
For those who want a reputable no-logs VPN provider that has been verified, ExpressVPN would be the better choice over IPVanish.
Logging policy winner: ExpressVPN
Jurisdiction (where the VPN is based)
Jurisdiction is a big factor for most people when choosing a good VPN service. In this area, ExpressVPN and IPVanish are very different.
IPVanish jurisdiction: United States
IPVanish is based in the United States, which is a member of the infamous Five Eyes surveillance alliance. This is indeed a drawback because it puts IPVanish (and its customers’ data) under the jurisdiction of the United States. There have been cases where US privacy companies have been forced to log user data and hand this over to authorities. One example of this was with Lavabit.
There is also no way to know if IPVanish is logging data for US authorities right now, as they have been caught doing in the past. And unlike a few other VPNs, IPVanish has not been audited.
ExpressVPN jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands
Unlike with IPVanish, ExpressVPN is based in a good jurisdiction that respects privacy. The British Virgin Islands are an independent country in the Caribbean, with a long history of privacy and secrecy. Despite the historical connection to the UK, the BVI are an independent political and legal entity that cannot be forced to give in to UK data demands — or demands from other countries, for that matter.
This further ensures data security for ExpressVPN customers. In terms of privacy and logs, ExpressVPN comes out ahead of IPVanish, especially considering the history of each VPN and the fact that ExpressVPN has been audited.
Jurisdiction winner: ExpressVPN
Torrenting: Is IPVanish or ExpressVPN best?
In comparing IPVanish with ExpressVPN for torrenting, there are three main areas I’m looking at:
- Download speeds – This is important when torrenting large files
- Jurisdiction – Which VPN is located in the best jurisdiction in terms of copyright laws?
- Leak protection – Which VPN offers the best leak protection settings to ensure your data remains secure when torrenting?
- Policies – Does the VPN restrict torrenting on its servers?
With the first category, we already showed how ExpressVPN offers faster download speeds than IPVanish. This gives ExpressVPN an edge with torrenting performance compared to IPVanish. Additionally, you can use the ExpressVPN Lightway protocol for even faster torrenting speeds.
Jurisdiction is also an important consideration. IPVanish is based in the United States, which is home to some of the harshest copyright laws in the world – see the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). ExpressVPN does not have to comply with these harsh copyright laws being based in the British Virgin Islands. Therefore ExpressVPN does not have to comply with harsh DMCA requests and demands for user data.
Both ExpressVPN and IPVanish offer good leak protection settings to keep your IP address secure when torrenting. We covered this above.
With torrenting policies, both VPNs allow torrenting on their servers. There are no restrictions, such as you find with even the best free VPN services.
Now to recap, ExpressVPN offers faster download speeds and a better jurisdiction for torrenting, while both VPNs have good leak protection settings and policies. Therefore ExpressVPN is the winner in the torrenting category when pitted against IPVanish. See our list of VPNs for P2P torrents if you want to look at other options.
Torrenting winner: ExpressVPN
Netflix and streaming with ExpressVPN and IPVanish
In terms of streaming Netflix, there is one VPN that always works, and another that almost never works (and they admit this).
ExpressVPN is arguably one of the best VPNs for Netflix. It consistently works with Netflix and provides excellent speeds for HD streaming, no matter where you are located. Here I’m streaming American Netflix through an ExpressVPN server in Washington, DC:
ExpressVPN also works for other Netflix regions around the world. Additionally, you can also use the VPN to stream Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, Hulu, and more.
IPVanish, on the other hand, is not a good VPN for Netflix, and they openly admit this. When I chatted with an IPVanish service representative asking why I could not access Netflix on any IPVanish server, he stated:
Netflix has been very vigilant recently in trying to block our services.
On a positive note, IPVanish has been working to offer support for Netflix, but it still seems to be hit or miss based on my own tests. It is also not the best VPN for BBC iPlayer, with IPVanish connections being blocked.
In comparison to IPVanish, ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Netflix and streaming various services around the world.
Netflix and streaming winner: ExpressVPN
Price and value comparison
In terms of price, IPVanish has an edge over ExpressVPN.
IPVanish offers two different pricing tiers. One option is the VPN alone. The other option is to bundle the VPN with a cloud storage service.
Note: If you go with the monthly plan, the price will jump up to $9.99 per month after the first month. Similarly, if you go with the annual plan, the prices jump up significantly upon renewal. This seems almost like a pricing scam, designed to lure people in with a low price, only to increase it significantly later.
ExpressVPN is more expensive than IPVanish, even when you use the 49% discount coupon, which also includes three months free. (The cheapest price for ExpressVPN without the coupon is $8.32 per month.) Here are the discounted prices with the coupon for three months free:
Note: The three months free coupon does not renew. Therefore if you want to lock in this discount, simply register with a new account after your subscription expires. (See my ExpressVPN coupon guide for more of a discussion about coupons, discounts, and trials.)
Looking at price alone, IPVanish is cheaper than ExpressVPN, but we’ll also examine the question of value at the end. Neither IPVanish nor ExpressVPN would be considered a cheap VPN since both are over $5 per month.
Price winner: IPVanish
Free trials? Neither IPVanish nor ExpressVPN offers a completely free trial. There are a few other free trial VPNs to consider, however.
Payments and refunds
There is another clear winner in terms of payment options and refund policies, and that is ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN supports all major payment options, including numerous credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, as well as other payment processors:
ExpressVPN refund policy – ExpressVPN offers a 30 day money-back guarantee, which does not include any hidden clauses or exceptions. The refund policy/money-back guarantee is very straightforward. Simply cancel and request a refund within 30 days of purchase and you’ll get 100% of your payment back.
Support – ExpressVPN provides 24/7 live chat support.
IPVanish payment options and refunds
IPVanish also offers a variety of payment options, but they do not support any type of cryptocurrency payments, such as Bitcoin:
As I explained in my review of IPVanish, they are pretty limited with payment options. We also saw this in our Avast VPN review.
IPVanish refund policy – IPVanish offers a 30 day money-back guarantee on all of their subscriptions. This is the standard refund window for the VPN industry. However, there is an exception:
IPVanish’s official refund policy is that monthly customers “do not qualify” for refunds. This is different from ExpressVPN, which gives a 30 day money-back guarantee with all subscriptions, including monthly subscriptions.
IPVanish support – IPVanish provides email support and a customer service hotline during US business hours (Monday – Friday). There is a live chat option, but last I checked, it is not available 24/7 like you get with ExpressVPN.
When comparing IPVanish to ExpressVPN for payment options, refunds, and support, ExpressVPN comes out on top, again.
Payment options and refunds winner: ExpressVPN
Value: IPVanish vs ExpressVPN
Last up we have the question of value: Does IPVanish or ExpressVPN offer the best value for your money?
IPVanish is cheaper and comes with more connections, but it also has some drawbacks. In comparison with ExpressVPN the drawbacks with IPVanish are as follows:
- Slower speeds
- Clunky and outdated apps
- History of logging user data for government agencies (see IPVanish logs case)
- Based in the US (bad privacy jurisdiction)
- Does not work well with Netflix and other streaming services
- Limited payment options
- Limited support
In comparison to IPVanish, ExpressVPN also has a few cons, such as fewer connections (five simultaneous connections) and it is a bit more expensive. On a positive note, however, ExpressVPN does have many benefits:
- Premium speeds and reliability
- More features, including split tunneling
- Strong security with upgraded VPN protocols
- Works great with Netflix and other streaming services
- Excellent no-logs policies, company jurisdiction, and solid track record (no logging scandals)
- Has passed a third-party security audit and also a no-logs audit
- 24/7 live chat customer support, with a 30 day money-back guarantee (no questions asked)
Considering all the factors, I would argue that ExpressVPN offers the best value, even though it is slightly more expensive than IPVanish.
Value winner: ExpressVPN
Final verdict: ExpressVPN wins
Here is a quick recap of the results for this ExpressVPN vs IPVanish comparison:
- Speed – ExpressVPN
- VPN Apps – ExpressVPN
- Features – ExpressVPN
- Connections – IPVanish
- Security and Encryption – ExpressVPN
- Logs and privacy – ExpressVPN
- Jurisdiction – ExpressVPN
- Torrenting – ExpressVPN
- Netflix & streaming – ExpressVPN
- Price – IPVanish
- Payments & refunds – ExpressVPN
- Value – ExpressVPN
The overall winner in this IPVanish vs ExpressVPN comparison guide is clearly ExpressVPN. It came out on top in ten different categories, while IPVanish was the winner in two categories.
If you want to give ExpressVPN a test drive, be sure to use the coupon below for three months free.
And since I’m not recommending IPVanish anymore since the logging scandal, you can also check out our other recommended VPN services if you are still on the fence.
We also have a VPN coupons page with the latest deals.
This ExpressVPN vs IPVanish comparison was last updated on October 20, 2021.