There are dozens of different VPN providers which is what makes knowing the best VPN so hard to figure out. While browsing the internet, you’ve probably come across some big VPN names like ExpressVPN and IPVanish, but does that mean they are worth signing up for? That’s where it’s incredibly useful to do some research and find out more about both services. In most cases, they are both worthy VPNs but you may find one suits your needs better.Contents
Before you get straight into signing up for a VPN, it’s a smart move to learn about what a VPN is so you know exactly why you might need one and how it can benefit you. The majority of people online would gain from using a VPN but don’t just take that advice blindly, make sure you learn all about it beforehand. Then, it’s a good idea to think about what you need a VPN for most of all. Do you simply need an extra layer of protection while you browse, or are you looking for more features? A VPN that means you can avoid georestrictions for your favorite streaming service could be handy if you’re looking to check out the latest Netflix shows based in a different country to yours. Alternatively, you may be keen to avoid censorship issues in your country. This often requires a slightly different set of features from a VPN than your average network. That’s before you consider the financial side of things. Different VPN deals involve different levels of value for you, the consumer, and you won’t want to overspend on something that’s unnecessary for your needs.
Having had a think about all those elements, it’s time to figure out which VPN to sign up for. That’s why we’ve looked at ExpressVPN and IPVanish. Both are popular choices online and for good reason, so it might seem hard to know how to differentiate between them. That’s why we’ve taken a look at how they work, what devices they support, the features they include, how fast they perform, and how much they cost. In no time, you’ll know exactly which is the best out of the two for your VPN needs.
If you’re looking for a VPN, obviously, you need one that works with all your devices. Generally, there are two options here. One method involves downloading apps on each device you use and signing in via that method. The other involves changing settings at the router level so that all devices that connect to your home network automatically connect via the VPN in question. The latter involves a little more work early on but saves you the need to sign in on individual devices. Also, while many VPNs have limits on how many devices can connect at once, a router counts as just one device meaning you’re safe to connect with many different gadgets at once.
ExpressVPN offers support for up to five devices connected at once. For one person, that’s plenty. You have room to connect via your laptop, smartphone, tablet, and a couple of other devices. Notice how fast that limit hits? If you have more than one person in your household, it’s likely you also have multiple smartphones, laptops, and tablets too. It’s generally best to use ExpressVPN’s fairly clear router-related instructions to get things set up via your Wi-Fi router. However, if you prefer to use individual apps, ExpressVPN offers a fair amount of support. It has apps for PC, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. There’s also extensive browser support courtesy of a Chrome VPN extension, Firefox support, and an extension for Microsoft Edge too. If you’re looking to solely protect your browser but you’re fine for Steam or other online apps to get through without a VPN, this could be a good alternative. For streaming fans though, there is no dedicated app for Amazon Fire TV Stick or Android TV, though, which could have been useful for many users.
IPVanish allows for an unlimited number of simultaneous connections via any device. On the surface, that’s a tremendous value. There’s no need to change settings on your router, in theory, as you can simply connect every device imaginable on an individual basis instead. There’s a catch though as it depends on the devices involved. IPVanish offers apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. In addition, it has a dedicated app for Chrome OS so you can keep your Chromebook secure too. Even better, there’s an Amazon Fire TV Stick app as well which is ideal if you stream a lot of content and want to circumvent georestrictions. However, that’s it. There are no VPN browser extensions available so if you want to solely protect Chrome, Firefox, or Edge, you’ll need to do so manually. On the plus side, IPVanish does offer some useful instructions on how to do so.
As is the way with all VPNs, don’t count on an Apple TV VPN from either ExpressVPN or IPVanish. This isn’t exclusive for either VPN but it’s always worth remembering. Instead, to use your Apple TV with a VPN, you’ll need to adjust things manually. Luckily, both services offer plenty of useful support and advice to do so.
If you’re looking for a VPN that’s solely there to protect your data and give you an extra layer of protection while you browse, both ExpressVPN and IPVanish will keep you safe. Simply put, if your expectations are fairly slight, you can skip ahead and just assume they’re both great at what they do. Both promise to use only the highest strength encryption available to them, all while maintaining a strict no-logs policy so you can be reassured that nothing is tracked. In the past, IPVanish was accused of keeping logs but nowadays, it conducts regular independent audits, much like ExpressVPN does too. For the extra security conscious though, there may be some concerns about IPVanish’s location. It’s based in the U.S. which isn’t as reassuring as ExpressVPN being based in the British Virgin Islands. That’s because the U.S. is part of the five eyes alliance which means potentially privacy laws and protections are less reliable than somewhere like the British Virgin Islands.
Elsewhere, when it comes to useful features, both ExpressVPN and IPVanish have things covered with some useful options. ExpressVPN has leak protection and a network kill switch. The latter means if your connection via the VPN inexplicably drops for a moment, you are blocked from using the internet until the VPN connection. There’s no way anything can get through by accident using this method. ExpressVPN also provides a split tunneling feature that can make using a VPN smarter. By enabling it, you can browse online from two different locations at once. That way, you could watch a show on Netflix or BBC iPlayer from one location/via the VPN, while using your local connection to check out the local news or similar. Simply put, it adds a lot of flexibility to what can be accomplished using a VPN. Other features from ExpressVPN include private DNS and obfuscated servers. The latter ensures that users are more likely to be able to evade internet censorship via repressive regimes when using the service. Also, ExpressVPN offers up an in-built speed test so you can check that you’re connecting to the fastest servers it provides.
IPVanish provides a lot of similar features but it’s not quite as strong as ExpressVPN. It has leak protection and a kill switch but it won’t automatically alert users of when it kicks in, meaning you could be surprised by a lack of connection. Also, while ExpressVPN has an ad and malware blocker, IPVanish lacks this, as well as a SmartDNS feature that helps make streaming easier to do. However, IPVanish does still offer split tunneling functionality which not all VPNs provide, and could be more useful depending on your needs. Still, we’d have liked to have seen more ad blocking by a responsible VPN.
When it comes to the best VPN for streaming, ExpressVPN is typically regarded as the best option. Many users have found that ExpressVPN works well for pretty much every streaming service you can think of including being a stand-out Netflix VPN. This is likely to be helped by its SmartDNS proxy called MediaStreamer which is designed specifically with circumventing georestrictions in mind. In comparison, IPVanish is far more inconsistent. It will work with HBO Go, Disney Plus, and Hulu, but it doesn’t always hit the spot with Netflix and reports suggest it’s unlikely to work well with BBC iPlayer. For streaming, ExpressVPN should be your first choice. It’s far easier to use and much more consistent so you won’t miss out on your favorite shows.
Enjoying fast speeds while using a VPN isn’t as straightforward as simply connecting to any server you see. Instead, different locations, different protocols, and different VPNs offer different levels of speed. After all, your connection is going through an extra layer of protection so it makes sense that things might be a touch slower than using your standard connection. Generally, ExpressVPN is considered to be one of the fastest VPNs out there. That’s demonstrated well against IPVanish which is not quite as fast.
ExpressVPN offers up 160 VPN server locations across 94 countries, amounting to around 3,000 servers overall. Basically, there are plenty of options for connections when using ExpressVPN. In contrast, IPVanish offers over 1,500 servers across 75 countries so it’s a little more limited when it comes to options here. However, IPVanish owns and manages all of its servers so it’s far more secure than competitors that may rely on third-party hardware. ExpressVPN isn’t one of those competitors though as it uses RAM-only or TrustedServer which means none of your information is ever stored by it. In terms of server safety, both are fairly similar.
In terms of speed, things are affected by what protocols are available. ExpressVPN uses the Lightway protocol, OpenVPN, IKEv2, and L2TP/IPsec. IPVanish uses WireGuard, OpenVPN, IKEv2 and L2TP/IPsec. Lightway and WireGuard are generally quite similar and often the fastest, so stick with those for the best speeds. Both VPNs offer support for torrenting too so either option will allow for P2P sharing without slowing down speeds purposefully, although it’s worth noting extra servers through ExpressVPN can provide you with more flexibility.
Many tests have found that while IPVanish is far from a slouch, ExpressVPN is typically faster regardless of which country’s server you happen to connect to. There isn’t a huge amount of difference though so this should only be a concern for anyone where speed is of vital importance. For the average user, either ExpressVPN or IPVanish will do the job well enough. You are unlikely to suffer from massive slowdown issues with either of them, even when watching videos. It will only be noticeable when gaming or downloading large files.
For many users, the price of a VPN is the most important part of the buying process. Notably, neither ExpressVPN nor IPVanish technically offers a VPN free trial but there are still ways in which you can try out both services for free. That’s because they both offer 30-day-money-back-guarantees. By utilizing the guarantee, you can always check out if the VPN is the one for you although, generally, we’d recommend committing to one rather than simply trying them out for brief periods of time. It’s simply more convenient than having to deal with customer support. Both ExpressVPN and IPVanish offer one plan with price changes dictated by how long you commit to them.
If you subscribe to ExpressVPN on a month-by-month rolling basis, it costs $13 per month. It’s useful if you only plan on using a VPN for a limited amount of time but it’s fairly poor value for money. Alternatively, the price drops to the equivalent of $10 per month if you decide to sign up for the six-month plan. You are billed $60 every six months using this method. There is also a 12-month plan which works out even cheaper still. Users are billed at $100 per year which works out at the equivalent of $6.67 per month. Also, at the moment, you get three months free included too if you commit to a year’s membership.
IPVanish also offers a substantial discount if you commit to a longer period of time, however, it only offers two pricing plans. If you want to sign up for just one month on a rolling basis, it costs $11 per month. The far better value option is to sign up for a yearly plan. That costs $45 for the first year working out as the equivalent of $3.75 per month. Even once that offer ends, it still only rises to $90 per year which works out much cheaper than paying by the month. IPVanish is far cheaper overall than ExpressVPN although that may not be relevant depending on your VPN needs.
IPVanish accepts payments via major credit cards and Paypal, while ExpressVPN offers those as well as Bitcoin. The latter may prove useful if you prefer to be extra privacy-conscious.
For many users, ExpressVPN and IPVanish are quite closely matched. In terms of security, they both offer features like split tunneling and a kill switch, although ExpressVPN’s kill switch is a little more obvious to see. Speed-wise, they are also both reasonably similar too although ExpressVPN has the edge when it comes to offering slightly superior speeds.
However, when it comes to streaming, ExpressVPN has a huge advantage. It simply works better and plays nicely with more streaming services than IPVanish. If you’re streaming a lot of content and want to avoid georestrictions with less hassle, then you need to sign up for ExpressVPN. Its MediaStreamer smart DNS feature makes navigating different streaming services a breeze in comparison to many competitors, including IPVanish.
If you simply want to feel more secure with your browsing though, the decision is less clear cut. ExpressVPN is less prone to government-related privacy issues due to its location but for most users, this won’t be as important as it might seem. Generally, the concern is hackers on public Wi-Fi networks rather than government agencies pursuing you. IPVanish has all the basic features you need to keep safe wherever you’re browsing.
By that logic, it really comes down to what you need a VPN for. As mentioned, if streaming is your priority, you need to go for ExpressVPN. For an extra layer of security, however, IPVanish is more appealing. That’s because it’s significantly cheaper to sign up for and use. Both services offer simple-to-use apps so there’s no debate here. Instead, it’s a smart move to think about if you’re signing up for something with features you simply don’t need. If you don’t watch Netflix often or you don’t plan on checking out what other versions offer, ExpressVPN could be overkill for your needs. As with any purchasing decision, only you truly know what will work best for you. There isn’t a wrong answer.