ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: Two Great Services, Just One Winner

obrBy Joel Tope — Last Updated: 08 Mar'17 2017-03-08T03:34:37+00:00
There are a lot of great VPN services out there, and some pretty awful ones as well. So how do you know which services are better than others? Cloudward.net has put together a few articles where we compare two popular providers against each other and figure out which is best.

Today we’re going to compare ExpressVPN and IPVanish to see just how well they stack up against each other. We want to help you make an informed decision instead of blindly subscribing to an unknown service. So first things first, let’s look at their pricing models.

Starts from
$ 12.95 per month
Visit ExpressVPNExpressVPN Review
  • Servers in 94 countries
  • SmartDNS and Network Lock
  • Great mobile and desktop apps
  • Great customer service
  • Collects non-identifiable metadata
  • Rather expensive
  • Only connects 3 devices
Starts from
$ 10.00 per month
Visit IPVanishIPVanish Review
  • 5 simultaneous connections
  • Unlimited P2P traffic
  • Based in US
  • DNS-leak prevention
  • Traffic visualizer
  • Linux support
  • NAT firewall
  • Based in the US
  • Slower than competition
  • No live-chat support
  • Lacks user forum
  • No Referral Program
1

Price

It should be noted that ExpressVPN is priced slightly higher than most other VPN providers, while IPVanish is priced just below. Both providers follow the same framework for their pricing model, as well: instead of offering a tiered service that packages features into different service levels, they simply discount the monthly rate with longer term subscriptions.

The following outlines ExpressVPN’s pricing model:

PlanPrice PlanBandwidthIncluded DevicesBitcoin
Monthly
$ 12.95 Monthly
$ 77.70 per 6 month
$ 59.95 (-23%)
$ 155.40 1 Year
$ 99.95 (-36%)
Unlimited GB3Unlimited

Here are the plans IPVanish offers:

PlanPrice PlanBandwidthIncluded DevicesBitcoin
Standard
$ 10 Monthly
$ 30.00 per 3 month
$ 26.99 (-10%)
$ 120.00 1 Year
$ 77.99 (-35%)
Unlimited GB2Unlimited

Clearly, IPVanish is cheaper on all accounts. Cheaper doesn’t always mean better, but I think most people use pricing as one of their primary motivators when selecting a VPN service. I would also like to point out that neither company has a free trial or a free version of their service, which is disappointing. Instead of a free trial, each provider offers a money back guarantee.

ExpressVPN has one of the longest money back guarantees in the industry at 30 days. This gives their customers plenty of time to test out their service before committing to a subscription. On the other hand, IPVanish only has a seven-day money back guarantee. One week isn’t ideal to test out all the features a service offers, but should still give you a reasonable impression.

Also, note that both providers accept Bitcoins and PayPal for anonymous payments, as well as all the other usual payment options, such as credit cards. As far as price is concerned, IPVanish wins by a significant amount, though its value is debatable.


Winner (Price): IPVanish
ExpressVPN
IPVanish
2

Privacy

I would also like to point out that both companies are based in the United States. This is a bit of a drawback, because many people are skeptical about using U.S. digital services in light of the past government scandals. Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA was coercing digital service companies into forfeiting sensitive customer data in their PRISM scandal.

Nevertheless, both companies provide a fair degree of privacy, though I’d recommend looking for an offshore provider if you’re worried about the NSA. As most VPN providers claim, both ExpressVPN and IPVanish say they are “no-logs” providers. But this claim is only slightly true.

Sure, neither service is going to track your online browsing habits or Internet activities — that would defeat the whole purpose of their service. Nevertheless, both VPN services do log metadata such as the IP address you use to connect, which servers an account connects to, and various network statistics like how much bandwidth a connection is consuming.

There’s no reason to be alarmed, because almost every provider logs these kinds of information. Basically, they use them to help refine their networks and plan for future capacity. And these logs are so vague that they really aren’t a threat to your anonymity. Still, the most paranoid users may want to find another provider.

Because both providers are based in the U.S. and have similar logging policies, they both offer the same level of privacy. In my opinion, they’re more or less identical when it comes to protecting their users’ privacy.


Winner (Privacy): Tie
ExpressVPN
IPVanish
3

Security

As far as security is concerned, I’d have to say that ExpressVPN beats IPVanish, but only by a hair. ExpressVPN offers the following types of connection options: OpenVPN, L2TP-IPsec, SSTP, and PPTP. On the other hand, IPVanish offers these connection options: OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPsec VPN.

If you noticed, the only difference between the two providers is that ExpressVPN offers SSTP. Otherwise, their connection options are identical. But the SSTP option doesn’t matter much in my opinion, since it’s best to use OpenVPN anyway as it offers stronger security.

Also, I would like to caution you against using PPTP, even though both providers offer that type of connection. PPTP is past its prime, and it can be easily hacked with cheap software. So try to avoid using PPTP to transport sensitive data if you can avoid it.

PPTP isn’t completely useless, however, because it has significantly less overhead than OpenVPN. Lower overhead means it runs faster, making it ideal for gamers who want to connect to foreign servers and users trying to unblock geo-restricted streaming content.

So, just like the in the privacy comparison, ExpressVPN and IPVanish are almost even with regards to their security, with ExpressVPN pulling ahead by just a hair.


Winner (Security): ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN
IPVanish
4

Software & Features

The software portion of the comparison is a little bit more tricky, because there are good features that are unique to each service. For starters, IPVanish’s software wins in terms of simultaneous connections. IPVanish allows each account up to five of these, which is above average in the industry.

Unfortunately, ExpressVPN doesn’t offer as many simultaneous connections, though they have improved this part of their service. In the past, they only permitted simultaneous connections between one computer and one mobile device. But to be more competitive, they have recently changed it to three simultaneous connections regardless of device type.

Even though ExpressVPN has improved that feature, it still lags behind IPVanish. I think IPVanish is the better option for families and individuals with a lot of devices to secure for two reasons: first and foremost, IPvanish allows up to five concurrent connections On top of that, IPVanish is also significantly cheaper over the course of a year.

However, ExpressVPN’s software will allow users to connect to more countries around the world. To date they have servers in 87 different countries, giving users plenty of flexibility when selecting global locations. And they always seem to be bringing new servers online.

expressvpn-client
ExpressVPN Client

On the other hand, IPVanish only has servers in 60 countries. Both providers have servers in the most popular areas, but ExpressVPN will appeal to a wider global audience. Regardless, both ExpressVPN and IPVanish will help you unblock your favorite geo-restricted content.

I do have to hand it to them, though. Both providers did an amazing job designing sleek, beautiful and easily navigable user interfaces. I’m a little partial to IPVanish’s interface over ExpressVPN’s. However, they are both clearly better interfaces than some of the newer contenders among VPN providers.


Winner (Software & Features): ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN
IPVanish
5

Performance

Both providers performed well during the speed tests. We didn’t find any performance or reliability problems with IPVanish. ExpressVPN also tested well, though it wasn’t anything spectacular. Essentially, both of these provider performed well enough in the speed tests to accommodate most users needs.

You’ll be able to browse the web without noticing much of a difference, if you notice any at all. I’ve personally used both services, and still haven’t had any problems streaming HD videos or downloading files. Once in while (as with every provider) you might run into a bogged down server with too many clients.

In that case, just try to connect to the same location again or connect to another country. I’d also like to point out that both providers offer steady and stable latency. One of the biggest red flags is a lot of jitter and lost packets. Lost packets and variable latency are both indicative of an overburden server, as well as connection problems.

Most times the cause of the jitter and packet loss is the VPN provider. To test, you can simply ping your favorite web service, both while using the tunnel and while disconnected. If you notice packet loss on both tests, the problem is somewhere in between you and the VPN server (likely your local ISP). On the other hand, if your VPN server test is losing packets and your disconnected VPN test is fine, the server is most likely to blame.

Nevertheless, both providers are stable, fast and reliable enough to provide for the vast majority of users needs. IPVanish performed a little better, so they’re likely the better choice for people with highly demanding traffic, such as voice or multiplayer gaming.


Winner (Performance): IPVanish
ExpressVPN
IPVanish
6

Ease of Use

Few things turn me off to a new service as much as a cluttered, incomprehensible or difficult to navigate website. However, both IPVanish and ExpressVPN did a great job of making their websites sleek, attractive and easy to navigate.

They both also did a great job of fleshing out a knowledge base, which can help a user find a solution to their problem on their own before needing to contact support. There are FAQ pages on both sites, but I think ExpressVPN has higher quality setup and configuration guides. IPVanish simply lists the steps for various configurations in plain text.

On the other hand, ExpressVPN went the extra mile. Not only did they provide setup and configuration guides with pictures (being sure to highlight every button and field a user needs to interact with), they also create configuration videos. Sometimes people prefer videos to images, because you can actually see someone run through the process, making it easier to implement the same changes on your own computer.

Both providers offer 24/7/365 support, but ExpressVPN has more contact methods. To contact ExpressVPN’s support, customers have three options. They can send an email to open a ticket, fill out a contact form on their website, or simply contact support via a live chat feature (which is my favorite). I pinged the support department to see their response time, and a representative responded to me in just 15 seconds.

On the other hand, IPVanish doesn’t have nearly as many options. They don’t have a live chat feature, and there’s no support telephone number to call. Instead, users can contact support in one of two ways. The first way is to simply post a public comment on their forum, and a support representative will eventually reply. The second way is to initiate a support ticket via email.

Even though IPVanish does offer 24/7/365 support, I was pretty disappointed to discover how limited their customer service options are. Personally, I like live chat the best because you can get a direct response, usually in a matter of seconds. However, I think most people would at least like to see a telephone as well.

That’s why I think ExpressVPN has far superior customer service compared to IPVanish. ExpressVPN simply has more ways to initate contact and support requests, and the quality of ExpressVPN’s guides were a lot better than IPVanish’s. So altogether, I’d have to say that ExpressVPN winds in the customer support category by a significant margin.


Winner (Ease of Use): ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN
IPVanish
7

The Verdict

As you can see, these two providers are extremely close in terms of quality. I would choose IPVanish over ExpressVPN if you are looking for the cheaper option or you need a faster service to support audio calls or real-time gaming.

On the other hand, if you travel a lot and need more geographic location options, ExpressVPN is your better choice. Lastly, I would recommend ExpressVPN to people who occasionally have trouble with technology because of their superior support.

Don’t get me wrong. Both of these VPN providers are superior to most other services, especially startups and smaller VPN services. Which one you select really just depends on your needs. Feel free to voice any questions, comments, and concerns regarding these two providers in the comments below, thank you for reading.

Winner: ExpressVPN

One thought on “ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: Two Great Services, Just One Winner”

  1. Umm…ExpressVPN isn’t located in the US — they’re based in the BVI. They also run their own .onion servers (which I’m pretty sure Vanish doesn’t).

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