IPVanish vs NordVPN (2020): Which is Better?

Both IPVanish and NordVPN are VPN giants, feature-packed and heavy on marketing and reputation. But if you really pit the two against each other, who comes out on top? That’s exactly what we’ll do in this article, and there’s one clear winner.

We cover all aspects including speed, features, security, Netflix, torrenting, device compatibility, support and pricing.

IPVanish

  • Slightly faster speeds
  • 10 connections
  • Full access torrenting
  • More protocol choice
  • Split tunneling
  • Cheaper monthly price

NordVPN

  • Record server numbers
  • Panama location
  • 2 kill switches
  • Specialist servers
  • Outstanding streaming
  • Easier to use
  • Some very cheap prices

Speed

IPVanish was faster than Nord in our testing overall.

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 good US results. NordVPN had faster latency, and similar uploads, though IPVanish had slightly faster download speeds.

Here’s a NordVPN speed test:

And an IPVanish test:

In Europe, however, the tables were turned as IPVanish beat Nord on all counts. Nord had atrocious download speeds, barely existent, whist IPVanish’s were still impressive.

Here’s an NordVPN European result:

Compared to an IPVanish result:

Overall, including Asia and South America, IPVanish had slightly faster speeds, with faster downloads and uploads.

Both were reliable, with fairly fast connection times and no connection issues.

Winner: IPVanish

Features

Both VPNs are feature-packed.

In terms of server numbers, although IPVanish has a high 1,300, Nord still dwarfs this at over 5,400 servers. That’s over 4 times as many.

Both have 60 countries, which is very high.

Both have obfuscation technologies, with Nord having special Obfuscation servers, and IPVanish offering obfuscation over OpenVPN. However, Nord’s works better, since it can get past China’s Great Firewall.

Nord also has a couple of other specialist servers – Onion over VPN, which automatically works with Tor, and Double VPN, which offers double the protection. This is great for added security layers if you need them.

Nord also has 2 kill switches, that work on both desktops and mobiles, whereas IPVanish has just 1 that only works on Windows and Macs.

Nord also has an integrated ad/malware-blocker, Cybersec.

However, IPVanish offers a lot more protocol choice, which will be important to some advanced users who want speed over security. Nord only does OpenVPN or IKEV2, whereas IPVanish also offers PPTP, LT2P, and the SOCKS5 proxy for torrentors.

And IPVanish offers split tunneling on mobiles, which is very useful.

It’s a tough call as it might depend on your priorities, but overall Nord has more features numbers-wise.

Winner: NordVPN

Privacy & Security

Nord is slightly more secure overall for several reasons.

Both VPNs use top-level technical security, as you might expect.

Both offer the highly-secure OpenVPN and IKEV2/IPSec. OpenVPN is generally regarded as the best protocol, not least because it’s open-source.

IPVanish also offers more choice with L2TP, SSTP and PPTP, as well as the SOCKS5 proxy, but most of these are a lot less secure.

We didn’t find any IP or DNS leaks or viruses for either of them on our testing (except one false positive for IPVanish).

Both have strict no logs policies, collecting bare minimum info and no traffic or IP logs.

However, from this point on Nord definitely takes the lead.

Both have kill switches, but IPVanish’s is only on Windows and Mac, whilst Nord’s covers mobiles too. Nord also has 2 kill switches, a general and an app-specific one.

Both also have advanced obfuscation technology, enabling you to use it in anti-VPN countries like Iran. However, NordVPN works in China, whereas IPVanish doesn’t.

Nord also has two specialist servers for extra layers of protection: Onion over VPN, which uses Tor, and Double VPN.

In terms of location, Nord is located in privacy-friendly Panama, which is outside 14-eyes. IPVanish is located in Florida, USA, a founding member of the 14-eyes agreement. It’s also home to the NSA and US laws can force companies to hand over all their data without telling you.

Unfortunately, both VPNs have been subject to past scandal. There were rumors Nord was owned by a shady data mining company. However, these were all unsubstantiated and in response they performed an independent audit in 2018, one of the few VPNs to do so. They also have a warrant canary.

IPVanish’s scandal was a lot worse, after evidence emerged that IPVanish provided logs to US authorities in 2016, even though they’ve always claimed to be a no logs company.

Their reaction was also unsatisfactory. They basically said ‘not my problem’ since the company has changed ownership since the incident. They didn’t apologise, perform any kind of audit or take any measures to reassure users.

Understandably, trust in their ‘no logs’ policy, which hasn’t changed much since 2016, was broken for a lot of people. And coupled with their US location, this is no small issue.

So overall, although technically they’re both very secure, location and reputation-wise, we’d definitely trust Nord over IPVanish with our data.

Winner: NordVPN

Netflix and Streaming

Both have streaming access, but Nord definitely takes the crown.

IPVanish works for US Netflix, but Nord works in the US and also 4 other countries: the UK, Canada, Netherlands, and Japan.

This is outstanding compared to most VPNs.

For Nord, Netflix also works on every other server you visit. But there’s a catch: it’s US Netflix only. Still, that’s pretty amazing and gets top marks for convenience. They call it their ‘Smart Play’ feature.

Hulu, which is only available in the US, worked for both VPNs on US servers, which is great as this is also notoriously hard to access.

Kodi and Youtube also worked fine.

Neither have special streaming servers for easy access though. Nord has a list of working servers in its knowledgebase.

Winner: NordVPN.

Torrenting

Both VPNs offer ample torrenting, so it’s a close call.

IPVanish offers full access torrenting in all of its 60 countries, whereas Nord restricts it to 45 out of 62 countries. So IPVanish is the most convenient, and has more country choice.

However, since Nord has way more servers, that’s still 4,400 torrenting servers available, compared to IPVanish’s 1,300.

Nord has special P2P servers for easy access, and automatically reroutes your connection to a P2P server if you try and do torrenting on a non-P2P server. This minimizes the inconvenience.

However, IPVanish also offers a special protocol for torrentors: the SOCKS5 proxy.  This gives you much faster speeds, which torrentors will appreciate, although to be clear, it’s much less secure.

IPVanish also comes in faster than Nord speed-wise in general, which will make a big difference for torrentors.

IPVanish is also very torrent-friendly on it’s website.

Whereas Nord avoids using the term torrenting, opting for ‘P2P’ instead.

Therefore, we crown IPVanish the winner.

Winner: IPVanish.

Device compatibility

Both VPNs have amazing and pretty much even device compatibility.

Both have the standard apps: Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.

They also have apps for Linux, Android TV, Firesticks, Kindle Fire, and Chromebooks, which isn’t common across VPNs.

For routers, they both only support the OpenVPN protocol, but you can purchase ready-made routers, or configure yours yourself through their many setup guides for various brands.

Both work fine with Tor, but Nord has specific Onion over VPN servers that automatically use Tor without you having to open it yourself.

IPVanish has a Chrome extension, whilst Nord has both Chrome and Firefox.

IPVanish also offers manual setup for Windows Phones, using the LT2P/IPSec protocol.

Neither have any solutions for gaming consoles, but there is no fully-encrypted, direct support possible for these at the moment.

So overall they’re pretty even in terms of supported devices.

But what about the number of device connections allowed?

Well, Nord offers 6, but IPVanish offers a staggering 10 connections.

Both of these are generous and above the average of 5, but IPVanish definitely knocks it out of the park here. With 10, you can get your whole family set up.

Winner: IPVanish

UX/UI

Both interfaces are highly configurable to satisfy advanced users, but Nord’s is more beginner-friendly.

NordVPN’s looks more attractive and is easier to use. The server list and map are shown on the main interface, along with the specialist servers. However, the only connection stat is IP address.

IPVanish’s looks a lot more technical, with lots of connection stats taking up the main interface. This will be overwhelming for beginners, but appreciated by advanced users.

Both include a server list and map, although IPVanish doesn’t have any specialist servers.

Nord has one pin per country, whereas IPVanish has no zoom control and groups countries together which isn’t very useful. The one exception is the US, which it divides into regions, which is nice.

Overall though, we think in both cases it’s just easier to use the list.

In both cases, you can select individual servers, offering great control.

However, servers names are long-winded and not easy to read, e.g. ‘nyc-a01.ipvanish.com’.

Nord’s is shorter, but doesn’t even include the city, e.g. “United States #1725”.

There’s lots of control in terms of sorting and server stats, though slightly more for IPVanish, which shows both Load and Ping, plus you can filter.

However, IPVanish’s is a lot more clunky, with some options not working too well, e.g. sorting by Load doesn’t really work.

Both have Quick Connect options too. IPVanish offers more options for this, but you have to disconnect in order to connect to a different server, which is awkward.

With Nord you don’t have this, and can either click the ‘quick connect’ button to connect to the best server, or click on any country to click to the best server in that country.

Both have quite a lot of settings. IPVanish has much more auto-connect settings.

It also has more protocol choice, with 5 options over Nord’s two (UDP or TCP).

With IPVanish you can enable DNS leak protection, but with Nord you can set up a custom DNS.

Both have obfuscation options, the option to run diagnostics, and kill switches, though Nord has an app-specific one. Nord also has Cyber-sec, an ad-blocker.

In terms of mobile, IPVanish is slightly more simplified and is more attractive.

However in terms of settings there’s no kill switch, but there is a split tunneling option. Very handy for mobile.

For Nord, the mobile interface is still much more attractive.

However, instead of dropdowns each option for the server choice takes you to a new screen, which is slightly cumbersome.

Extra auto-connect settings are available and there’s still a kill switch, but there’s no split tunneling option like IPVanish.

Overall, they both have a lot of features and control. But since Nord’s is easier to use and appealing to beginners, we have to give this one to Nord.

Winner: Nord

Support

Both have 24/7 live chat support, which is excellent.

Their responses were fast and helpful, responding within minutes.

Both also have fully-functional chat interfaces, telling you your queue number when you first start, and letting you email the chat to yourself afterwards.

Sometimes Nord started off with some default responses, but quickly reverted to normal conversation when probed.

Both their English was great.

IPVanish automatically ends the chat after a period of inactivity, whereas Nord remarkably doesn’t, so you can leave it open ready to ask another question when you need to.

They both also have email and Facebook support, which is nice. Both are very active on social media.

Basically, they’re dead-even in terms of support.

Their knowledgebases are similar as well, with decent and numerous setup guides.

IPVanish has a lot of ‘how to’ guides and some general info, whilst Nord has more troubleshooting guides, but less general info.

IPVanish also has a ‘System status’ on its knowledgebase, which is handy.

Both content was slightly unclear at times. IPVanish’s was wordy and some of the technical explanations were a bit advanced, whereas some of Nord’s content was a bit vague.

But still, overall these are still quality, comprehensive knowledgebases compared to a lot of VPNs.

It’s impossible to differentiate between the two here, so we’ll call it a tie.

Winner: Tie.

Pricing

IPVanish starts off a bit cheaper, but Nord offers cheaper long-term deals.

Here are the ExpressVPN prices:

Compared to the NordVPN prices:

As you can see IPVanish’s 1-month price of $10 is cheaper than Nord’s $11.95.

Their 1 year prices are very similar, with IPVanish at $6.49 and Nord at $6.99.

IPVanish also offers a 3-month option, which is nice.

But Nord offers 2 and 3 year price plans which are very cheap, at just $3.99 and $2.99.

$2.99 for such a premium VPN is a steal, but you have to be willing to commit for the long-haul.

In terms of payment methods, IPVanish only offers card or Paypal, and no crypto option.

Nord offers card, Paypal, Alipay, and 3 cryptocurrencies, which will delight those who wish to pay anonymously.

Nord also wins big in the guarantees section. IPVanish offers a stingy moneyback 7-day guarantee, whereas Nord gives a very generous 30 days.

On top of this, Nord also offers a 7-day free trial.

Overall, we say Nord wins this section, though IPVanish does have a cheaper monthly price.

Winner: NordVPN.

Our Verdict

The results are in. Here’s the winners for each section:

  • Speed: IPVanish
  • Features: Nord
  • Privacy: Nord
  • Streaming: Nord
  • Torrenting: IPVanish
  • Device compatibility: IPVanish
  • UX/UI: Nord
  • Support: Tie
  • Pricing: Nord

Nord wins 5 section over IPVanish’s 3, and 1 section is a tie.

Let’s face it, though, both of these VPNs are the cream of the crop and did well in most sections.

Nord is one feature-packed VPN, with over 5,000 servers, and top-notch security both technically and in other areas with its no logs policy, Panama location, and independent audit.

It also has incredible streaming access, and still has great torrenting access and 6 connections. The real kicker is it’s an attractive app that’s fairly easy to use whilst still offering tons of options. Therefore it appeals to both beginners and advanced users.

IPVanish is slightly faster, with full access torrenting and a staggering 10 connections. It still has US Netflix and Hulu, and some features Nord doesn’t, namely more protocol choice and split tunneling. It’s stat-crazy interface will appeal to advanced users.

Price-wise, IPVanish has a cheaper 1-month price, but Nord offers very cheap long-term deals, better guarantees and you can pay via crypto.

Overall, Nord is a better all-rounder, but it depends on your priorities. Streamers will want to go for Nord, but torrentors for IPVanish.

Beginners will want to go for Nord, whilst advanced users might find either suits them depending on the features they want. Speed-freaks will definitely want IPVanish, whilst those concerned with privacy will want to play it safe with Nord.


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1 thought on “IPVanish vs NordVPN (2020): Which is Better?”

  1. I have been using NordVPN for two months. I saw a commercial on TV and decided to try out. It is really great how it can protect all my devices (I use it on my laptop, smartphone and tablet).

    Reply

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