ExpressVPN vs IPVanish
Comparison & Test Results 2018
ExpressVPN makes a good choice for users looking for wide-ranging global server coverage, fast international connections, and top customer support and privacy protections.
BitTorrent users will be happy to learn the provider allows P2P file sharing activity on all of its servers. The provider is priced higher than most other VPN services, but offers a good value for the money.
IPVanish offers a great option for those in search of a provider that offers fast U.S. connection speeds and great multi-platform support, all at a reasonable price.
IPVanish lacks in connection speeds compared to ExpressVPN when connecting to international servers.
How to Choose a VPN
If you’re looking for a Virtual Private Network (VPN) provider that meets your needs, there are a large number of factors, features and statistics to keep in mind. In this faceoff between ExpressVPN and IPVanish, I’ll be listing the important factors to consider in selecting a VPN, and I’ll also take a look at how well both providers perform in each category.
In each category, I will declare a “winner” who will be the provider that offers the best performance in that particular category. When all is said and done, I’ll declare an overall victor. By the time we reach that point, you should have enough information to make an intelligent decision about which VPN provider is right for you.
In today’s online world, VPN connection speeds are an important consideration when making a decision about which provider is right for you. VPN services should provide an encrypted connection that supplies speeds as close as possible to your unencumbered, Internet Service Provider (ISP)-supplied connection.
Here’s how my connection speed tests work: I first test my local, ISP-provided speeds. I then test each provider’s connection speed to VPN servers located in both the U.S. and U.K. I calculate the difference between the ISP speeds and the VPN speeds, and I use that information to calculate the speed percentages listed in the tables.
Local Connection Speeds (U.S.)
IPVanish’s U.S. connection speeds were top-notch, coming in at a bit less than 94% of my ISP speeds. ExpressVPN is about ten percentage points slower, measuring in at 83.8% of the unfettered speeds.
The more than 10% gap in connection speeds could mean the difference between immediately enjoying your streaming HD video content or waiting awhile for it to buffer.
International Connection Speeds (U.S. to U.K.)
While ExpressVPN’s connection speeds continued to perform well when checking the provider’s U.K. server speeds, measuring in at 81.2% of my ISP speeds, IPVanish’s U.K. speeds suffered, dropping precariously to just 29.9% of my usual unencrypted data speeds.
Neither ExpressVPN nor IPVanish can be considered a “bargain-priced” VPN provider. ExpressVPN is one of the highest-priced providers I’ve ever tried, and IPVanish comes in as the third-most-expensive service I’ve had experience with. That said, both providers do deliver value for the money.
IPVanish is $10.00 when you pay month-to-month, falling to $6.49 per month ($77.99 per year) when you opt to pay for an annual subscription.
ExpressVPN carries a month-to-month tariff of $12.95, which goes down to $8.32 per month when you pay their $99.95 annual fee.
Money-Back Guarantee Period
Privacy has never been more important for internet users than it is today. VPN users need assurances that their online activities won’t be shared with outside parties, or that their payment information is also exposed to prying eyes.
When considering any VPN provider, always take into account whether their base of operations is in a privacy-friendly country, whether they keep any types of logs related to your online antics and whether they offer a privacy-friendly payment option, such as Bitcoin or merchant gift cards.
ExpressVPN’s base of operations is the British Virgin Islands (BVI), where the government does not require providers to retain user logs of any kind. The provider takes full advantage of this, with a strict “no logs” policy. While the BVI High Court could petition a company to disclose their user records, ExpressVPN simply wouldn’t have any such logs to turn over.
IPVanish is located in the increasingly privacy-unfriendly United States. While the U.S. doesn’t require VPN providers to keep records of their customers’ online activities, they are encouraged to do so. However, IPVanish follows a self-imposed “no logs” policy.
As far as privacy-friendly payment options, both providers accept Bitcoin.
When researching VPNs, be sure not to concentrate on any one category, like price or connection speed. Instead, look at a provider’s overall performance in all categories before making that final decision. After all, the fastest connection speeds in the world would be worthless if you can’t access the content you desire.
In this section, I’ll examine the various features offered by both providers. I’ll take a look at each category and then weigh each provider’s performance in the category.
ExpressVPN protects its connections with AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) with 256-bit keys (AES-256). VPN protocols used in the provider’s apps include OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPSec.
Private Internet Access also protects its customers’ activities with AES-256, via the OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPSec protocols, providing the same type of protection to its users.
Encryption Winner: Tied
AES-256 encryption, using OpenVPN with TCP/UDP, PPTP, SSTP and L2TP/IPSec
AES-256 encryption, using OpenVPN with TCP/UDP, L2TP, IPSec and IKEv2
IPVanish allows up to 5 simultaneous connections per account, while ExpressVPN limits users to 3 connections at once.
While both offer flexibility for family and small business users, IPVanish’s 2 extra concurrent connections offer a little bit more bang for the buck than ExpressVPN’s trio of connections.
BitTorrent/P2P file sharing is at the same time one of the most popular and one of the most controversial online activities available today. Depending on your location and the types of files you’re sharing, BitTorrent activity can be considered either legal or illegal.
One way to protect your file sharing activities from the prying eyes of your ISP, movie industry legal teams and law enforcement personnel is to use a VPN. A VPN encrypts your connection and hides your real IP address, ensuring your online file sharing is kept secret, even if a torrent you access is a honeypot set up by law enforcement or the entertainment industry.
ExpressVPN allows file sharing activity on all of its servers, going as far as to offer helpful instructions on using their service with P2P activities. IPVanish also allows torrenting on all of its servers. The lack of customer activity logs on both services means your torrenting activities won’t be showing up in any subpoenaed logs at a later date.
BitTorrenting Winner: Tied
# of Countries Where VPN Allows BitTorrent
94 (All Countries)
60+ (All Countries)
Global Server Coverage
Always take note of what type of global server coverage a VPN provider offers. Look for a provider that offers a large number of servers, located in as many different countries as possible. Comprehensive server coverage means you’ll have better access to international gaming servers and geographically-blocked streaming content.
ExpressVPN tallies 1,500+ servers, stationed in 94 countries around the globe. This makes the provider a great way to access content and services in most of the free world.
IPVanish’s global server coverage comes in much lower than ExpressVPN, but nonetheless offers a good possibility of unblocking content that might normally be blocked in your locale. With 850+ servers located in more than 60 countries, IPVanish still provides a better-than-even chance that you’ll be able to access content, wherever it might be based.
Today’s connected-everywhere world makes multi-platform support more important than ever. Make sure any VPN provider you consider offers support for your favorite computer, mobile device or other connected devices.
IPVanish offers native apps for the Windows, macOS, iOS, Android and Amazon Fire TV platforms. Instructions for setting up the service on Linux, Windows Phone and Chromebook devices are also available. The company also offers instructions for setting up their VPN on DD-WRT and Tomato-enabled routers.
ExpressVPN provides native app support for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS and Linux devices. They provide extensions for the Chrome, Firefox and Safari browser platforms, as well as setup instructions for popular routers. If you’re a heavy browser user, you might want to award ExpressVPN an extra point for its comprehensive browser-extension coverage.
Both providers offer ready-to-go plug-and-play routers through FlashRouters.com.
Features Star Ratings
While both of our head-to-head challengers offer easy-to-use VPN apps and services, there may come a time when you’ll need to ask a question of their customer support departments. When that happens, you’ll want to be sure you’ll receive prompt and informed responses.
ExpressVPN covers all the support bases with a trouble ticket submission form, live text chat, email support and an easy-to-use support library. The provider’s support agents provided quick and informative responses to all of my inquiries, and their support library was a great way to find a quick bit of information on my own.
IPVanish supports their users via an online trouble ticket submission form and an easy-to-search support library. The provider’s website also includes a system status page, which displays an up-to-date status of their VPN system. IPVanish does lack a live support chat option. I received quick responses to my inquiries, and the support library proved to be quite helpful when I felt like a bit of do-it-yourself support.
And The Winner Is...
The race came down to the wire, but we do have a winner in this head-to-head battle. While both VPN providers offer an easy-to-use, secure way to protect your online activities from prying eyes and open up access to blocked content, much like the Highlander, there can be only one.
ExpressVPN takes the checkered flag in this one-on-one race. The provider offers fast connections, good multi-platform support, excellent global coverage and total support for BitTorrenting.
While IPVanish performed well in many categories, including U.S. connection speed, privacy and multi-platform support, it just missed grabbing first place in a photo finish.