ExpressVPN and IPVanish are both two well-established titans of the industry. How do you choose between them? Here we put both through their paces and perform a detailed side-by-side comparison to see who comes out on top.
We cover all aspects including speed, features, security, Netflix, torrenting, device compatibility, support and pricing.
- Bigger server selection
- 94 countries
- Record Netflix access
- Easy to use UI
- Better location
- Faster speeds
- 10 connections
- Highly configurable
For speed tests, we measured downloads, uploads and latency across 5 continents and compared them to a baseline. We performed each test 5 times and took averages for more reliability.
Both had similar uploads, but IPVanish had much faster, impressive download speeds. ExpressVPN’s were pretty poor. Express had faster latency though.
Here’s an IPVanish speed test:
And an ExpressVPN test:
In Europe, results were pretty similar, with pretty fast downloads and uploads. Latency slowed down big time though.
Here’s an IPVanish European result:
Compared to an ExpressVPN result:
In Asia, Express was faster on all counts. IPVanish had pretty terrible speeds.
However, in South America the tables were turned with IPVanish being faster for all 3 speed metrics.
Overall, IPVanish was marginally faster, but speeds were pretty comparable depending on region.
Both were reliable, with fairly fast connection times and no connection issues.
ExpressVPN definitely beats IPVanish on numbers. It has 3,000 servers, compared to IPVanish’s 1,300, which is less than half.
Express also has servers in an incredible 94 countries, whilst IPVanish has 60.
In terms of other features, though, IPVanish takes the lead.
Both offer a lot of protocol choice: OpenVPN, PPTP and LT2P. But IPVanish also offers the very popular IKEV2 protocol, plus the SOCKS5 proxy for torrenting.
Both have a kill switch and a handy split tunneling feature.
But IPVanish also has obfuscation technology though, which is very useful for high-censorship countries.
Overall, we’ll call it a tie.
Privacy & Security
Both offer a wide variety of protocols, including ultra-secure OpenVPN. And of course they use military-grade AES-256 encryption.
Location-wise, Express is located in the Virgin Islands, a haven for tax-evaders and VPN-users alike. IPVanish is in one of the worst locations, the US.
Both have kill switches, but IPVanish’s only works on desktops, whereas Express has one for Android too.
Unsurprisingly, we didn’t find any leaks or viruses for either in our testing (except one false positive for IPVanish).
In terms of their logging policies, neither collects anything really worrying like IP addresses or browsing history.
However Express does log dates, server locations, and total data transferred per day.
This is a bit more heavy-handed than a lot of strict no-logs policies. However, it’s very honest about why it collects this stuff.
IPVanish claims to be a lot stricter, only collecting certain information in aggregate.
Unfortunately, it came out that IPVanish provided logs to US authorities in 2016.
So trust in their so-called ‘no logs’ policy nosedived.
The company said it has since changed ownership, and so isn’t responsible for past transgressions.
But their no logs policy hasn’t changed much since 2016, and they didn’t provide any evidence their logging policy has changed, or perform an independent audit.
If they log data, then their US location makes them extremely unsafe.
On the other hand, in the past Express servers were seized by authorities, but the server didn’t hold any logs. This is pretty rock-hard evidence that Express’s no-logs policy holds true.
For this reason, we go with ExpressVPN.
Netflix and Streaming
ExpressVPN sweeps the floor with streaming.
IPVanish is able to unblock US Netflix, but that’s it.
Express, meanwhile, holds the record for Netflix access, unblocking a staggering 28 countries. Including the US.
The total list is: Algeria, Andorra, Armenia, Bahamas, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Isle of Man, Japan, Jersey, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Slovenia, Taiwan, UK and US.
Both also managed to access Hulu, Kodi and YouTube.
Neither have specialist servers though, so you have to ask support staff which servers work for streaming.
Both offer full access torrenting, which is amazing. No fiddling around with P2P servers.
Since Express has way more servers in more countries, that means more torrenting choice too.
IPVanish has the SOCKS5 proxy to increase torrenting speeds, although this is less secure.
Both are very torrent-friendly on their websites.
Overall, although both are amazing choices for torrentors, we have to give this one to Express.
As you might expect, they’ve both got apps for just about everything possible.
Both have the 4 standard apps: Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
They also have direct apps for Linux, Android TV, Firesticks, Kindle Fire, and Chromebooks, which is incredible.
IPVanish doesn’t have anything for gaming consoles, whereas Express has its Media streamer. Media streamer isn’t a VPN, however, but there’s no direct support possible for gaming consoles right now.
Both have the router option available as well, either through buying a VPN-ready router, or configuring your own. They have guides for various brands using the OpenVPN protocol.
Both VPNs also work with Tor.
IPVanish also offers manual setup for Windows Phones, using the LT2P/IPSec protocol.
Both have Chrome extensions, though Express has Firefox as well.
Overall, there’s not much in it.
What about connections?
Well, IPVanish offers 10 simultaneous connections, and Express allows only 3.
Connections make a huge difference to people and 3 is very low, so we crown IPVanish the winner.
It’s another tie for this one, as the interfaces are both great in different ways.
ExpressVPN is easier to use, and simpler, with an attractive ultra-minimalistic interface.
IPVanish is a lot less pleasing to the eye, and a lot more cluttered. It’s more technical, with more connection stats, which advanced users will like.
Express just sticks to a server list, whilst IPVanish has a map too.
However there’s no zoom control and it groups countries together in Europe, which isn’t very useful. The US is a lot better.
ExpressVPN’s server list is a lot simpler to use. For example servers are better named, showing the city they’re located in.
The server list is also shorter, as servers are grouped together.
With IPVanish, you can select all of their 1,300 servers, offering great control. However names aren’t user-friendly, e.g. ‘nyc-a01.ipvanish.com’.
There’s also a lot more control in terms of sorting, filtering and server stats, like Load and Ping. However, there’s some errors, e.g. sorting by Load doesn’t work too well.
In terms of settings, both have protocol choice, kill switches, and split tunneling.
IPVanish also has an obfuscation option, and more startup settings.
As far as mobiles go, both were almost identical to the desktops, except IPVanish drops the map.
To sum up, Express’s interface is more attractive, easier to use and simpler. IPVanish is more fiddly, but with more detail and control. Which users prefer will be down to personal preference.
Again, unsurprisingly support for both is excellent, including 24/7 live chat.
Express had a slightly faster response time, responding in seconds, whilst IPVanish sometimes took a couple of minutes.
IPVanish has a better chat interface telling you your queue number when you first start, and letting you email the chat to yourself afterwards. Express’s is more simplistic.
Both were very friendly and helpful, answering all our queries. There were no real copy and paste responses.
They both also have email and Facebook support.
Both their knowledgebases are detailed and comprehensive.
They’ve both got a lot of set up guides.
IPVanish has a lot more general information, whilst Express has more troubleshooting guides.
IPVanish also has a ‘System status’ on its knowledgebase, which is handy.
Overall they’re pretty equal, so we’ll call it a tie.
IPVanish is way cheaper than ExpressVPN, but then again, most VPNs are.
Here are the IPVanish prices:
Compared to ExpressVPN’s prices:
Neither are cheap VPNs, but IPVanish is cheaper on all counts. IPVanish’s monthly price is only $10.99, compared to Express’s $12.95.
IPVanish’s 1 year price is a more reasonable $6.49, whereas Express is $8.32.
Even IPVanish’s 3 month price is cheaper than Express 6 month price.
Neither offers an option over 1 year.
Express has a wide variety of payment options, including card, Paypal, Alipay, and even Bitcoin.
Shockingly, IPVanish only has card or Paypal. Very disappointing for such a big VPN.
IPVanish also only offers a stingy moneyback 7-day guarantee, whereas Express gives a very generous 30 days.
However, we still crown IPVanish the winner, since it’s a lot cheaper.
The results are in. Here’s the winners for each section:
- Speed: IPVanish
- Features: Tie
- Privacy: Express
- Streaming: Express
- Torrenting: Express
- Device compatibility: IPVanish
- UX/UI: Tie
- Support: Tie
- Pricing: IPVanish
Overall it’s a tie, both winning 3 sections each.
Express has more servers, more countries, more streaming and torrenting. Plus, it’s app is dead easy-to-use.
IPVanish has slightly faster speeds, more connections, and is cheaper. It’s also got an interface with more control that advanced users will love.
These are both quality VPNs, and it’s really down to personal preference. However, security is a huge factor and Express is definitely more secure, with a better location and pretty strong evidence its no logs policy is legit.
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