IPVanish is a top player in the industry. However, it’s surpassed by Surfshark, which is better in almost every way. To understand why, I’ve created this guide. Here, we’ll compare each quirk and feature the two offers. Moreover, we shall talk about pricing, interface, and customer support.
Overall Winner: Surfshark
Let’s start by getting an overview of what each VPN is all about. Below is a table to simplify the comparing process:
|Logging Policy||No Logging||No Logging|
|Jurisdiction||The British Virgin Islands||United States (Five-Eyes Member)|
SHA-256 Hash Authentication
4096-bit RSA Key Exchange
|Ad and malware blockers||Yes||No|
|Leak Tests||No Leaks Found||No Leaks Found|
|Torrenting & P2P||Yes (Optimized P2P Servers)||Yes (On All Servers)|
Roku (Via Router)
Apple TV (Via SmartDNS)
Roku (Via Router)
Apple TV (Via Router)
Xbox One (Via DNS or Router)
PS4 (Via DNS or Router)
Nintendo Switch (Via DNS or Router)
Xbox One (Via Router)
PS4 (Via Router)
Nintendo Switch (Via Router)
|Split Tunneling||Yes (As Whitelister)||Yes (On Android Only)|
HackLock (Add-On Feature)
BlindSearch (Add-On Feature)
$6.49/month (6 Months)
|$9.99/Month ($3.49 for the 1st Month)
$31.49 (for the 1st Year then $89.99/Year)
It’s clear that Surfshark has a lot of things IPVanish lacks. To get a better understanding, we must go into detail. Doing so will help you know what best suits your needs.
Overall Winner: Surfshark
Privacy & Security
IPVanish is based in the US. It falls under Five Eyes Alliance jurisdiction, which hampers its ability to operate. The VPN must follow restrictive privacy and copyright laws or face getting shut down.
In comparison, no such laws hinder Surfshark as it’s headquartered in the British Virgin Islands. It may function freely without having to worry about constraints.
With all that said, let’s now discuss the specific security measures that each VPN boasts:
Surfshark and IPVanish share AES 256-bit military-grade encryption with Surfshark also utilizing Chacha as a backup to AES-256 on Android.
Unfortunately, only Surfshark has disclosed the hash authentication (SHA-256) and handshake (4096-bit) it uses. IPVanish has yet to reveal anything about what it uses.
Neither of the two supports WireGuard. Instead, they support OpenVPN (UDP/TCP) and IPSec (IKEv2/L2TP). Setting them apart is Surfshark’s employment of Shadowsocks and IPVanish’s of SSTP along with PPTP.
Complete leak protection is something Surfshark and IPVanish claim to provide. To see if they’re true to their claims, I ran some tests using IPLeak.net. Before looking at the results, check out my test without any VPN running:
Here’s how Surfshark’s server in Hong Kong did:
And this is the result after transferring to IPVanish’s Tokyo server:
Both VPN providers succeeded at keeping my IP address hidden. Thus, I can say they live up to their claims. Using them is guaranteed to prevent troublemakers from finding out your location.
Surfshark and IPVanish don’t run their servers in RAM-disk mode. As such, it’s possible to store logs on them. Fortunately, the former has transitioned fully to RAM-disk servers in late 2020. The same can’t be said for IPVanish, which has no such plans revealed.
Surfshark has the edge when it comes to security. The VPN isn’t restricted by any laws, and it uses Chacha on Android. Moreover, it has announced plans to improve by soon implementing RAM-disk mode on all its servers.
Speed is something that many say Surfshark specializes in. It’s one of the quickest VPNs on the market. Only ExpressVPN and NordVPN can compete.
In contrast, a lot have complained about IPVanish’s limited speed capabilities. The service has a reputation for being sluggish. If true, that means it's unideal for multi-tasking, streaming, gaming, and downloading.
To see what both can do, I conducted tests. Before examining the results, look at my base connection:
Here’s how Surfshark’s Tokyo server affected it:
This is what happened after transferring to IPVanish’s server in the same city:
Surfshark did fairly better than IPVanish, whose performance was abysmal. It put my internet in an unusable state. Downloading was almost non-existent, which surprised me. I expected it to perform poorly but not to such an extent.
Torrenting & P2P
On paper, IPVanish has the advantage because all its servers are P2P-enabled. However, its slowness severely impedes its ability to torrent.
Surfshark doesn’t have a fully enabled P2P server network. It compensates for this by detecting torrenting activity and automatically connecting you to a suitable server. The VPN’s workaround is great because you won’t even know it hasn’t fully implemented P2P.
I had to see if the two could protect me when I torrent. Hence, I conducted a few tests. Let’s first look at the results when I wasn’t using a VPN:
Here’s the outcome after I connected to Surfshark and its Tokyo server:
Finally, this is the result after moving to IPVanish’s corresponding server:
Neither service failed at protecting me during my torrenting sessions. However, the winner of this round on IPVanish vs Surfshark match is Surfshark. I chose it because it’s quicker, which enables me to finish downloading faster.
Surfshark is a reliable VPN for streaming. It consistently bypasses the geoblocks of almost every streaming platform. In contrast, IPVansih has stated that it’s incapable of accessing most of Netflix’s libraries. The service also can’t be used with websites like Amazon Prime, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer.
Below is my result with Surfshark:
This is how IPVanish performed:
I was pleasantly surprised by how IPVanish performed. Although I knew Surfshark would do well, its competitor was able to put up a match. It streamed in full resolution without causing buffering. By doing so, it proved that it’s somewhat capable of streaming.
Despite their equal performance, the winner of this round of IPVanish vs Surfshark is still Surfshark. It’s the faster VPN that’s more consistent in working around geoblocks.
To see if each VPN was capable of gaming, I used them while I played Call of Duty Mobile. The first service I tried was Surfshark, which did wonderfully. While connected to its Singapore server, I played 3 matches. All didn’t experience frame drops or lags.
My next move was to use IPVanish and its server in Tokyo. As expected, the sluggishness of the VPN caused me to lag significantly. The game was almost unplayable. I was supposed to play 3 matches but was so frustrated that I only played 1.
The winner in this round of Surfshark vs IPVanish is Surfshark once again. Its speediness makes it so much better for gaming purposes. Any gamer would be satisfied with its performance without a doubt.
I use many devices, so my VPN must have wide compatibility. Luckily, both Surfshark and IPVanish work on multiple devices. With that said, only one can be victorious in this category. To see what each service works on, look at the table below:
It’s disappointing to see that IPVanish doesn’t have browser extensions for either Chrome or Firefox. Moreover, the VPN also isn’t compatible with Chromebook. For these reasons, the winner in this category is Surfshark.
Surfshark and IPVanish both stand out in the VPN industry. They’re the only major service providers that offer unlimited simultaneous connections. As such, either one gives you wonderful value for money. With both, you’ll get to protect your whole family with one subscription.
IPVanish has a network of more than 1400 servers. Sadly, it is surpassed by Surfshark, which boasts 1700+ servers across the world. Keep in mind that both VPNs are constantly acquiring more. Needless to say, the victor of this category is again Surfshark.
The Great Firewall of China is the most challenging thing a VPN can overcome. Services that are successful in doing so are considered to be the best.
In this regard, Surfshark once again takes the lead because reports have consistently stated that it can bypass the firewall. In comparison, IPVanish has a terrible record. It fails in working around the Great Firewall, making it useless in China.
Interface & Usability
Surfshark’s app takes on a minimalist approach. The first thing you’ll notice upon opening it is the quick connect button. Below is a list of servers that you recently connected to. A full list of servers, the settings, and special features can be accessed on the sidebar.
IPVanish has an app that’s rather hectic. It immediately bombards you with information like your visible location, used server, and internet speed. A tiny quick connect button exists on the upper right corner of the app. Like Surfshark’s app, there’s also a sidebar where you can choose servers, access the settings, and see your account details.
My preference lies with Surfshark because its app looks cleaner. It doesn’t flood you with any unnecessary information. All that’s present on the screen are the important things needed to operate the VPN.
IPVanish has a special feature called “Scramble”. It’s the VPN’s version of obfuscation. Using it, you can modify the OpenVPN protocol to enhance security.
Meanwhile, Surfshark has something called MultiHop, which is a feature that lets you route web traffic through two servers. Besides that, the service also has a version of split tunneling called Whitelister. The feature allows you to give certain websites and services access to your real IP address.
In addition to what’s stated above, Surfshark has two paid add-on features. First is an alert system called HackLock that notifies you if your data has been involved in a security breach. The second is a proprietary search engine called BlindSearch.
Refer to the table below to see what each VPN offers in regards to customer support:
|Online Knowledge Base||Yes||Yes|
|Average Response Time||4 Hours||20 Minutes|
The winner here is IPVanish because it has phone support. Furthermore, the VPN also has faster response times. Both of these factors make it so much easier to deal with the service.
As a customer, you must get the best deal available. Fortunately, Surfshark and IPVanish are both known for being affordable. To better understand the pricing schemes of each service, look at the table below:
|Subscription Lengths||$12.95/Month||$9.99/Month ($3.49 for the 1st Month)|
|$6.49/month (6 Months)|
|$2.49/Month (2-Year)||$31.49 (for the 1st Year then $89.99/Year)|
|Highest Price Per Month||$12.95||$9.99|
|Lowest Price Per Month||$2.49||$2.62|
|One Year Price||$77.88||$31.49 and $89.99|
|Money-Back Guarantee||30 Days||7 Days|
|Special Offer||81% discount for a 2-year plan
50% discount for a 6-month plan
|$3.49 for the 1st Month of a monthly subscription;
$31.49 for the 1st Year of an annual subscription
Surfshark offers better deals. It’s got longer plans that are cheaper, notwithstanding that it allows for unlimited simultaneous connections. Additionally, it has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Is Surfshark better than IPVanish?
Yes. Surfshark is superior to IPVanish in every regard except customer service. It’s truly a quality service that’ll meet the needs of any VPN user. The service is fast, secure, great for streaming, torrenting, and gaming. Adding to that is the fact that it’s consistent in bypassing Chinese censorship measures.
I strongly recommend that you choose Surfshark over IPVanish. Doing so won’t leave you with any regrets.
Overall Winner: Surfshark