ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: Which is Better?

Among the most popular VPNs in the industry are ExpressVPN and IPVanish. The two are leading service providers that have large user-bases. Reviews about them are excellent, and they’ve got reputations for being the best. As a result, it can be hard to choose between them when deciding what VPN to get.

I’ve created this comparative to assist you. Here, we’ll check out and compare what each VPN has to offer in terms of features. By the time you finish this, you’ll know everything there is about the two services. As a result, it’ll be easy to pick what’s right for you.

Overall Winner: ExpressVPN

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Comparison

The first thing we’ll do is acquaint ourselves with the features that both services offer. Here is a table that shows what each VPN has and doesn’t have.

  logo ipvanish
IPVanish
logo expressvpn
ExpressVPN
Logging Policy No Logging No Logging
Jurisdiction United States (Five-Eyes Member) The British Virgin Islands
Encryption AES-256 AES-256
SHA-512 Hash Authentication
4096-bit RSA Key Exchange
Protocols OpenVPN UDP
OpenVPN TCP
IPSec/IKEv2
IPSec/L2TP
SSTP
PPTP
OpenVPN UDP
OpenVPN TCP
IPSec/IKEv2
IPSec/L2TP
Lightway Protocol (Beta)
Ad and malware blockers No No
Kill switch Yes Yes (Except iOS)
Leak Tests No Leaks Found No Leaks Found
Speed Tests Slow Fast
Torrenting & P2P Yes (On all servers) Yes (On all servers)
Streaming Netflix
Hulu
Firestick
Roku (Via Router)
Kodi
Apple TV (Via Router)
Android TV
Netflix
Amazon Prime
Hulu
BBC iPlayer
Firestick
Roku (Via Router)
Kodi
Apple TV (Via DNS or Router)
Android TV
Gaming Windows
Android
iOS
Xbox One (Via Router)
PS4 (Via Router)
Nintendo Switch (Via Router)
Windows
Android
iOS
Xbox One (Via DNS or Router)
PS4 (Via Router)
Nintendo Switch (Via DNS or Router)
Compatibility Windows
macOS
Android
iOS
Linux
Chromebook
Tor
Selected Routers
Windows
macOS
Android
iOS
Linux
Chromebook
Chrome
Firefox
Tor
Selected Routers
Simultaneous Connections Unlimited 5
Servers 1400+ 3000+
China No Yes
Split Tunneling Yes (On Android Only) Yes
Additional Features Scramble Feature No Additional Features
Prices $9.99/Month ($3.49 for the 1st Month)
$31.49 (for the 1st Year then $89.99/Year)

$12.95/Month
$9.99/Month (6 Months)
$8.32/Month (1-Year)

Special Offer: 50% off for a 1-year subscription

Our Rating 4.1 4.8
Website www.ipvanish.com www.expressvpn.com


It’s apparent that IPVanish and ExpressVPN are two very different services. While they share a couple of features, the two have some unique assets. Hence, we must take a closer look to determine what’s the best among them.

Overall Winner: ExpressVPN

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Privacy & Security

Let us kick off our IPVanish vs ExpressVPN battle by looking at their privacy and security capabilities.

Both services claim to safeguard their users as they use the internet. They have an array of features that enable them to do so. However, only one VPN can win in this category.

ExpressVPN’s headquarters is in the British Virgin Islands. It doesn’t fall under any jurisdiction that makes operating a VPN harder. The same cannot be said for IPVanish, which is based in the United States. There, many laws exist that hamper the VPN’s ability to protect the privacy of users.

Both services maintain a strict no-logs policy. Despite that, it has been confirmed that IPVanish turned over private information to the authorities. In 2016, the company that owns the VPN (Highwinds Network Group), gave up data to the Department of Homeland Security. It did so to help with a then-ongoing criminal investigation.

IPVanish’s reputation has been tarnished because of the incident. That said, it’s been trying to redeem itself since then.

We’re now going to dwell on the specific security measures that each VPN has.

Encryption Comparison

Both of them have AES-256 military-grade encryption. As such, it’s safe to say that both adhere to superb encryption standards.

A thing to note is that ExpressVPN offers SHA-512 hash authentication along with an RSA-4096 handshake. This puts the VPN at an advantage versus its competitor, which doesn’t disclose what hash authentication and handshake it’s using.

VPN Protocols

Unfortunately, neither VPNs supports WireGuard on their apps. Nevertheless, they do support other protocols, including OpenVPN (UDP/TCP) and IPSec (IKEv2/L2TP).

What sets the two apart is ExpressVPN’s support for Lightway Protocol and IPVanish’s support for SSTP and PPTP.

Leak Protection

ExpressVPN and IPVanish are both said to be great at preventing leaks. To see if that’s true, I decided to conduct some tests using IPLeak.net. Given its namesake, I decided to see how IPVanish would do first.

Before anything, here’s a screenshot of a test without any VPN connected. My IP address is clearly seen below:

ip leak test no vpn
IP Leak Test – No VPN

Now here’s the result after connection to IPVanish’s Taiwan Server:

ip leak test ipvanish taiwan
IP Leak Test – IPVanish Taiwan

Lastly, this is the outcome after connecting to the San Jose, California server:

ip leak test ipvanish san jose ca
IP Leak Test – IPVanish US

My tests with IPVanish have proved that it does indeed make my real IP address “vanish”. Due to that, I can rest assured that the service will be able to hide my location when I use it.

After my success with IPVanish, the next step was to see what ExpressVPN can do. The first server that I connected to was the one in Singapore. Here’s the result:

ip leak test expressvpn singapore
IP Leak Test – ExpressVPN Singapore

Following that, I moved over to the service’s UK server:

ip leak test expressvpn uk
IP Leak Test – ExpressVPN UK

ExpressVPN was also capable of masking my real IP address. It did so wonderfully, just like IPVanish. Due to that, I can’t say what VPN is better when it comes to leak protection. Both are great at the job they’re supposed to do.

Server Security

An unprotected server network is one that’s not worth having. Hackers are going to be able to infiltrate it easily. Consequently, they’ll get to access confidential user-information and put a VPN’s subscribers in danger. For that reason that VPN services must have unparalleled server security.

Taking the lead is ExpressVPN, which runs all of its servers in RAM-disk mode. For those that don’t know, any server that runs in RAM-disk mode can’t store logs. The server will also remain protected if ever it gets seized.

In comparison, IPVanish doesn’t have any servers running in RAM-disk mode. Thus, the VPN is put at a significant disadvantage compared to its competitor.

In Conclusion

Selecting a winner for this category was a breeze. My winner is ExpressVPN because of a few things.

It’s based in the British Virgin Islands, outside the Five Eyes Alliance jurisdiction. This means that it doesn’t have to comply with any restrictive laws that make running a VPN hard. Apart from that, it runs each of its servers in RAM-disk mode. Lastly, the service has a clean record when it comes to giving up information.

While IPVanish has some great security features, including a military-grade encryption, it comes in short-handed because it has a record of giving up user-information. The VPN’s credibility is compromised when it comes to security.

Winner: ExpressVPN

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Speed Test

The rate at which a VPN can slow down your internet varies from service to service. In this category, the IPVanish vs ExpressVPN battle shall get taken up a notch. Reddit users say that both are speedy. Be that as it may, there can only be one winner between the two.

I’ve decided to test both VPNs out for myself. My first course of action was to see what my base connection’s speed was:

speed test no vpn
Speed Test – No VPN

This is what I got after connecting to IPVanish’s server in Taipei. I chose that server because it’s the closest one to my current location:

speed test ipvanish taiwan
Speed Test – IPVanish Taiwan

IPVanish performed quite poorly. As you can see, the VPN slowed down my connection speed to a point where my internet was barely usable.

Everyone deserves second chances which is why I ran a second test while linked up to the Los Angeles server:

speed test ipvanish los angeles ca
Speed Test – IPVanish US

The results improved but were still unimpressive. IPVanish disappointed me as it turned out to be the slowest VPN that I’ve ever used. Anyone that’s looking for speed shouldn’t subscribe to this service. It won’t be able to satisfy based on my experience.

My next move was to see if ExpressVPN could go faster. I had high expectations as it has a reputation for being one of the fastest services on the market. Below is a screenshot of my initial test while connected to the Singapore server:

speed test expressvpn singapore
Speed Test – ExpressVPN Singapore

The short-distance server test that I conducted using ExpressVPN yielded decent results. It didn’t make my internet unusable. By this alone, I could already tell that the service was the better one between the two.

Even with a made-up mind, I decided to give ExpressVPN one more test. Here’s the result after I transferred to the to its UK server:

speed test expressvpn uk
Speed Test – ExpressVPN UK

I admittedly got better long-distance results with IPVanish. Regardless of that, my preference still lies with ExpressVPN because it was able to maintain consistency. Unlike IPVanish, the service predictably altered my connection speeds. Because of that, I have to give it the win when it comes to speed.

Winner: ExpressVPN

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Torrenting & P2P

ExpressVPN and IPVanish don’t just allow torrenting on their servers; they encourage it. Both services support P2P sharing on their entire network. Moreover, they also provide proper leak protection.

What’s unfortunate is that IPVanish is disadvantaged due to its slower speeds. It’s also based in the US, which has some of the strictest copyright laws in the world. The VPN has to follow these laws, or else its owners will face criminal charges.

To see if each service can handle torrenting without leaking, I did some tests. Check out the results without any VPN running:

torrenting leak test no vpn
Torrenting Leak Test – No VPN

Now look at the results after connecting to IPVanish’s Taipei server:

torrenting leak test ipvanish taiwan
Torrenting Leak Test – IPVanish Taiwan

Lastly, here’s what I got after connecting to the VPN’s New York server:

torrenting leak test ipvanish new york
Torrenting Leak Test – IPVanish US

It’s clear that IPVanish can handle torrenting without leaking. To see if ExpressVPN could do the same, I decided to run the tests once more. Here are my results after connecting to the service’s Hong Kong server:

torrenting leak test expressvpn singapore
Torrenting Leak Test – ExpressVPN Singapore

Last but not least are the results after linking up to the UK server of ExpressVPN:

torrenting leak test expressvpn uk
Torrenting Leak Test – ExpressVPN UK

ExpressVPN did as well as IPVanish on both of my tests. As a result, I’d have to say that it’s an excellent VPN for torrenting.

Using it is definitely going to prevent trouble makers from getting to know your legitimate IP address.

For this round of IPVanish vs ExpressVPN, the win has to go to ExpressVPN. I chose it simply because it’s not required to comply with strict copyright laws. The service is outside intelligence alliance jurisdictions, giving it a considerable advantage. Additionally, it also doesn’t have a history of giving up user information to the authorities.

Winner: ExpressVPN

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Streaming

A lot of people download VPNs just to access foreign streaming libraries. Hence, the streaming capabilities of a service have to be on point.

ExpressVPN has an excellent record when it comes to streaming. The VPN is claimed by many to be capable of bypassing the geoblocks of almost any website. It has even gone as far as to publish a list of the services that it can unlock. If anything, this shows just how ExpressVPN is confident with its abilities.

On the other side of the spectrum is IPVanish. When asked, a representative of the VPN service honestly stated that it has trouble accessing Netflix. In verbatim, she said: “We’re trying our best to provide our customers with access to Netflix.” On the bright side, reports have stated that the VPN can indeed unblock Netflix on some servers.

Netflix

To see what IPVanish could do, I decided to try streaming Netflix while connected to its UK server. My kids wanted to watch Kingsman, so I chose that title. Below are my results:

netflix uk ipvanish
Netflix UK – IPVanish

Unfortunately, the limited unblocking capabilities of IPVanish prevented me from accessing the movie. To see if it would do better with another server, the next thing I did was try to watch Spotlight while linked up to New York:

netflix us ipvanish
Netflix US – IPVanish

Fortunately, the VPN was able to access the title. An issue was that I wasn’t able to stream it in full resolution. Besides that, there was much buffering, which further ruined my viewing experience.

Since I wasn’t able to properly watch using IPVanish, I decided to give ExpressVPN a shot. My kids were anxious to watch Kingsman, so I tried reaccessing the title. Like before, I connected to a UK server:

netflix uk expressvpn
Netflix UK – ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN was able to access the title without any hiccups. In addition to that, it was able to do so without any buffering. The quality of the resolution also wasn’t bad. I was pleased, and so were my kids who were able to watch Kingsman finally.

I wanted to see how the VPN would do if I connected to another server. Since I wasn’t able to watch Spotlight properly, I decided to give it another try. The server I selected for the job was the one in the United States:

netflix us expressvpn
Netflix US – ExpressVPN

Although I was able to access the title, it took forever to load. Moreover, the quality also took a hit. What I ended up with was a low-resolution pixelated mess. Nevertheless, I must still say kudos to ExpressVPN for being able to pass all of my tests.

The winner in this round of ExpressVPN vs IPVanish is ExpressVPN. The VPN was genuinely able to access all the movies that I wanted to watch on Netflix. On top of that, it’s also capable of unblocking every other mainstream streaming service.

Winner: ExpressVPN

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Gaming

I play Call of Duty Mobile quite a lot. It’s my go-to whenever I’m not busy or bored. As such, I need to have a VPN that’s suitable for gaming.

The first VPN that I tested was IPVanish. My experience wasn’t good because of the slowness of the service. If anything, lagging was the only consistent thing that I experienced during my matches. Note that I was connected to the nearest primary server to my location, the one in Taipei.

ExpressVPN was able to fare better during my tests. Although it impeded my connection, the game was still playable. Every one of my matches, while connected to the Singapore server, did not experience lags. Due to that, deciding my winner for this category was easy to determine.

Winner: ExpressVPN

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Compatibility

Our match between IPVanish vs ExpressVPN is becoming a narrower one. In this round, we’ll determine which is better when it comes to compatibility. This is important as a VPN that’s incompatible with your devices is a useless one.

The two VPNs are compatible with a wide range of operating systems. For you to get a better insight into what each VPN works on, refer to the table below:

IPVanish ExpressVPN
Windows
macOS
Android
iOS
Linux
Chromebook
Tor
Selected routers
Windows
macOS
Android
iOS
Linux
Chromebook
Chrome
Firefox
Tor
Selected routers


As you can see, ExpressVPN has the edge over IPVanish. The former has extensions for Google Chrome and Firefox, whereas the latter does not. Hence, the winner when it comes to compatibility is obvious – ExpressVPN.

Winner: ExpressVPN

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Simultaneous Connections

One of IPVanish’s main selling points is its ability to let users simultaneously connect as many devices as they want. Users don’t have to pay extra on top of their subscription to use more gadgets on the VPN. As such, it’s great for business owners and individuals with large households.

ExpressVPN allows for 6 simultaneous connections per subscription. In that sense, it’s a huge step behind its competitor.

Winner: IPVanish

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Servers

A vast server network makes a VPN better as more servers make it easier to hide users. In this category, ExpressVPN takes the win as it has over 3000 servers in more than 90 countries. That number is rather impressive, especially in comparison to its competitors in the industry.

IPVanish also has an extensive network that’s got 1500+ servers across the globe. Even if that amount is much less than its competitor, it is still impressive. That’s especially when you consider the fact that each server is P2P-enabled like ExpressVPN.

Winner: ExpressVPN

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China

The ExpressVPN vs IPVanish battle we’re having is almost at a close. In this category, we’ll see what service is better at bypassing the Great Firewall of China.

Doing this is very hard, as the Chinese government has made sure of it. Technically speaking, only the best VPNs can get through it.

IPVanish has a feature that allows users to configure OpenVPN. You’ll be able to “scramble” your web traffic. As a result, it’ll be harder for authorities to track whether you’re utilizing a VPN or not.

Despite this looking great on paper, in reality, the feature can’t work around the Great Firewall. Many reports have stated that IPVanish has failed to do so, rendering most of the internet inaccessible in the country.

By contrast, posts and reviews about ExpressVPN have almost unanimously stated that it could climb the Great Wall. The VPN is said to have the ability to do so with ease. For that reason, I would have to declare it to be the winner of this round.

Winner: ExpressVPN

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Interface & Usability

Downloading then installing both ExpressVPN and IPVanish was a quick and easy process. I’m impressed by the level of convenience both services provided to access their apps. Their similarities end there as the two have very different user-interfaces. One of which, I prefer much more than the other.

IPVanish has a “big” app that displays the protocol you’re using, visible location, live connection speeds, and lots of other data. A side-bar has buttons that let you pick a server, look at your account details, change the settings, and check out an information section.

interface ipvanish
IPVanish Interface

In contrast, is ExpressVPN's minimalist approach. The simple mobile-friendly app has an inviting green button that automatically connects to the best nearest server. You have the option to choose manually too. The VPN opted for a drop-down list, making it a breeze.

interface expressvpn
ExpressVPN Interface

Because I’m a minimalist that hates clutter, my preference lies with ExpressVPN’s app. I like its simplicity, which makes using the VPN so much easier. To be honest, IPVanish’s app interface gave me a headache because so much was seen on screen.

Winner: ExpressVPN

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Additional Features

Both VPNs have some unique features that set them apart. If anything, these give them a slight edge for specific users.

ExpressVPN has split tunneling on all its apps unlike its competitor that’s only got it on Android. The feature lets users exclude websites and apps from an encrypted VPN tunnel. It also allows users to give access to their personal info to selected people and services. Finally, it reduces the chances of bandwidth throttling and bottlenecking.

As mentioned earlier, a unique feature that IPVanish has is its “scramble” feature. It is basically the service’s version of VPN obfuscation, an adaptation of regular VPN protocol. With it, one can modify OpenVPN to safeguard their privacy.

The unique features of the two services are excellent. What’s better than the other is subjective, as every person has different needs. Because of that, I’ll have to say that this round of ExpressVPN vs IPVanish is a tie.

Winner: Tie

Customer Support

My experience with the customer support of IPvanish and ExpressVPN has generally been good. I contacted both VPNs via chat and received in-depth answers about my questions very quickly. The representatives from both services were very cordial, which made chatting with them a great experience.

I’ve also found that the two VPNs have a sizable online knowledge base. However, ExpressVPN has the advantage as it has got online video tutorials available. IPVanish has detailed write-ups that are complete with screenshots.

What sets IPVanish apart is the fact that there’s phone support available. Their website lists 6 numbers that users in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, Spain, and the United Kingdom can call.

  IPVanish ExpressVPN
Live Chat Yes Yes
Email Support Yes Yes
Phone Support Yes No
Ticket Support Yes Yes
Video Tutorials No Yes
Online Knowledge Base Yes Yes
Average Response Time 20 minutes 45 Minutes

The winner for this category is IPVanish. I picked the VPN because it’s one of the few services that have phone support available.

Winner: IPVanish

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Prices

Pricing is crucial for many individuals. As such, having the upper hand in this category is crucial for both VPNs. To help you understand what service has better plans and prices, refer to the table below:

  IPVanish ExpressVPN
Subscription Lengths 1 Month ($3.49 for the 1st Month then $9.99/Month) 1 Month ($12.95/Month)
    6 Months ($9.99/Month)
  1 Year ($31.49 for the 1st Year then $89.99/Year) 15 Months ($8.32/Month)
Highest Price Per Month $9.99 $12.95
Lowest Price Per Month $2.62 $8.32
One Year Price $31.49 and $89.99 $99.95 (12 Months +3)
Money-Back Guarantee 7 Days 30 Days
Special Offer $3.49 for the 1st Month of a monthly subscription;
$31.49 for the 1st Year of an annual subscription
3 months free with a 1-year subscription


As you can see, the two services offer very affordable and flexible plans. IPVanish, in particular, provides excellent options for people that don’t look to commit. It also offers lower prices in comparison to ExpressVPN. Sad to say, the VPN’s money-back guarantee only lasts 7 days.

My winner in this round is IPVanish because of its better prices. Don’t get me wrong, though. I think that ExpressVPN offers some of the best plans and prices on the market. It’s just currently outmatched by IPVanish, which is more suited to thrifty individuals.

Winner: IPVanish

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Verdict

Is ExpressVPN better than IPVanish?

The better service between ExpressVPN and IPVanish wasn’t easy to decide. After all, they’re both great VPNs with wonderful reviews from users around the globe. Be that as it may, my winner here is ExpressVPN because of a few things.

First, it doesn’t fall under any harsh jurisdictions that make operating a VPN difficult. It’s also got better streaming capabilities. Moreover, the service is faster and, therefore, more optimized for gaming. Lastly, it can bypass the Great Firewall of China with ease.

While IPVanish is an excellent service, it’s disadvantaged when it comes to speed, gaming, streaming, and security. I just can’t overlook the incident wherein the service gave up private user information to the authorities upon their request. If they did it before, who’s to say they won’t do it again?

Overall Winner: ExpressVPN

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About the author 

Kris Soliongco

Kris has two passions in life: writing and tech. He’s been building computers since he was eight years old and is very knowledgeable about online security. The first time he was exposed to VPNs was in 2016. Since then, he’s used a plethora of services and has gained much experience.

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