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Surfshark vs IPVanish: Which Is the Better VPN Provider in 2023?

Since Surfshark is relatively young, you’d not expect it to outshine one of the old guards in the VPN industry. The truth is that Surfshark has pulled ahead of IPVanish to dominate various VPN categories. Read our Surfshark vs IPVanish review to learn more.

Samson Max
By Samson Max (Writer, Linking Editor)
— Last Updated: 2022-08-29T06:41:13+00:00 Facts checked by Eugenie Tiu

Our Surfshark vs IPVanish matchup is quite interesting. While Surfshark made it onto our best VPN provider list, IPVanish missed out on a spot. That doesn’t mean IPVanish is a fly-by-night service; on the contrary, each provider is great in its own right. For that reason, before picking one over the other, you have to do a rigorous examination.

Key Takeaways:

  • Surfshark VPN is better than IPVanish in five categories: pricing, features, torrenting and user-friendliness as well as security and privacy. 
  • Both IPVanish and Surfshark delivered subpar performances in streaming and are on equal footing in the server location, speed and streaming. 
  • IPVanish outshines Surfshark only in the customer support category, thanks to its technical phone support. 

To save you time, we put both VPN services through a series of tests to see how they compare on various fronts. Our tests reveal some similarities between the providers, such as unlimited simultaneous connections. However, there are plenty of striking differences, so read on for the comprehensive details. If you’re just looking for a quick answer, Surfshark is the overall winner.

  • Surfshark is better than IPVanish in key categories like features, pricing, security, privacy, torrenting and user-friendliness.

  • Besides Surfshark, there are many VPNs out there that are better than IPVanish, including ExpressVPN and NordVPN.

  • Yes, Surfshark is legit.

  • IPVanish can’t be trusted due to its blemished privacy profile, particularly after the Vincent Gevirtz case. Though the current parent company has updated the privacy policy, it has not undergone independent audits to prove its commitment to privacy.

$2.49 / month(All Plans) 30-days money-back guarantee$6.67 / month(All Plans) 30-days money-back guarantee
Payment methodsPayPal, Credit cardPayPal, Credit card
Accepts cryptocurrency
Simultaneous connections Unlimited Unlimited
Supports split tunnelingAndroid & Amazon Fire TV only
Unlimited bandwidth
Free trial available
Refund period
Worldwide server amount3,200 +, 140 server locations in 95 countries1,600+ servers in 52 countries
Desktop OSesWindows, MacOS, LinuxWindows, MacOS, Linux, Amazon Fire TV, Chrome OS
Mobile OSesAndroid, iOSAndroid, iOS
Browser extensionsChrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge
Can be installed on routers
Can access Netflix US
Can access BBC iPlayer
Can access Hulu
Can access Amazon Prime Video
Encryption types256-AES256-AES
VPN protocols availableOpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuardOpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP, SSTP, IKEv2
Enabled at device startup
Allows torrenting
No-logging policy
Passed DNS leak test
Killswitch available
Malware/ad blocker included
Live Chat24/724/7
Email support24/724/7
Phone support24/7
User forum

Surfshark vs IPVanish: Compared & Tested

We’ll pit Surfshark VPN against IPVanish VPN in a nine-round matchup. The winner in each round will get a point, and in case a tie occurs, both services will get a point. We’ll tally the points at the end of the final round, and the VPN with the most points will be our overall winner. Let’s get started. 

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1. Speed

Speed is of the essence, whether you want to stream movies, download torrents, play games online or perform casual browsing. VPN speed has three critical facets: download, upload and ping rate. To see how the two providers compare on these aspects, we put them through a series of speed tests. 

Surfshark vs IPVanish Speed Test Results

VPN Service:Download Speed Upload SpeedIncrease in Ping

Our speed test results encapsulate the reasons why Surfshark made it onto our fastest VPN list, whereas IPVanish missed out. The former is fast and has some of the best download and upload speeds, but falters in terms of latency with a 53% gain. 

IPVanish download and upload speeds are almost on par with Surfshark. However, it distinguishes itself with an insignificant 4% latency gain, which is the second best score after Windscribe, which records no latency gain.   

Surfshark began the contest strongly, delivering faster speeds than IPVanish. However, IPVanish responded well with an incredibly low latency gain, to send the round into a tie. 

Round: Speed
No clear winner, points for both
Visit Surfshark1
Visit IPVanish1

2. Features

When picking a virtual private network, the commonplace VPN features are a must; the bells and whistles are a welcome addition. Surfshark and IPVanish tread different paths in terms of the available features and how they work. In this section, we’ll walk you down both paths to see how the providers differ.

Surfshark VPN vs IPVanish OS Support

Both IPVanish and Surfshark support major desktop and mobile operating systems (Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS) and work flawlessly on routers. Surfshark works with just about any smart TV, including Apple TV, Samsung TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Roku, Chromecast and others. IPVanish works with Amazon Fire TV and Android TV. 

Surfshark VPN clients
Surfshark has native apps for all major operating systems, routers and smart TVs. 

Internet Kill Switch and Split Tunneling

Both Surfshark and IPVanish offer a kill switch, which cuts off the internet when the VPN connection drops. In addition, Surfshark supports both app- and URL-based split tunneling. Sadly, the split tunneling tool is only available for Windows and Android users, sidelining iOS, Mac and Linux users. IPVanish, on the other hand, supports split tunneling on Android and Amazon Firestick only. 

ipvanish dns leak protection
IPVanish has a kill switch that ensures you access the internet only when the VPN is connected. 

Additional VPN Features

When it comes to advanced features, Surfshark has a bit more to offer than IPVanish VPN. It offers CleanWeb — a reliable malware and ad blocker — and Surfshark One, which is an antivirus add-on.

IPVanish offers no extra features that add to your online security. However, through its partnership with SugarSync, the company now bundles online backup features with its VPN service.

Surfshark settings
Surfshark app offers the security features you need to hide your internet activity from prying eyes. 

Surfshark covers all the basics and offers some advanced features such as CleanWeb and Surfshark One. IPVanish, by contrast, lacks some commonplace features like split tunneling on desktop. For this reason, Surfshark takes the point to surge ahead in the matchup.

Round: Features
Point for Surfshark
Visit Surfshark2
Visit IPVanish1

3. Pricing

By now, you already know which of the two VPNs has the excellent speeds and features you need. In this section, we bring money into the equation, to help you pick a VPN with the best value. 

VPN providers often charge a top dollar on the monthly plan, and Surfshark is no different. Its monthly plan will set you back $12.95, making it one of the most expensive monthly plans — on par with ExpressVPN

Surfshark VPN Pricing
Surfshark has one of the cheapest pricing plans on the market. 

Thankfully, the vendor is generous with discounts on the extended plans. For example, the six-month plan costs $6.49 per month, which is half the price of the monthly plan. The two-year plan is even cheaper, at $2.30 per month, but still doesn’t beat PIA — one of the cheapest VPNs. Read our Surfshark vs PIA guide to see how they compare.

Regardless of the Surfshark plan you pick, you get access to all the features, unlimited simultaneous connections and unlimited bandwidth. It’s one of the best VPNs for multiple devices alongside Windscribe, as you can read in our Surfshark vs Windscribe guide.

IPVanish plays by different rules when it comes to pricing. Instead of offering one bundle of features and varying the pricing by the subscription length, it offers two broad plans: VPN and VPN + Backup. Both plans can be billed monthly or yearly and come with unlimited connections and data.

Plan:Monthly PlanAnnual Plan
IPVanish VPN$10.99 per month$3.75 per month (first year)
IPVanish VPN + Backup$12.99 per month$4.58 per month (first year)

IPVanish’s VPN + Backup plan is excellent if you’re looking for a VPN and online backup solution. With the plan, you get 500GB of secure cloud storage space for $4.58 per month, which ordinarily costs $18.95 with SugarSync’s stand-alone plan. However, if all you want is a reliable VPN, that’ll cost you $3.75 per month on the yearly plan.

Free Trial and Money-Back Guarantee

You can use Surfshark for free on mobile and Mac devices for seven days. IPVanish doesn’t offer a free trial on any platform. 

As far as the money-back guarantee goes, both providers give you a 30-day money-back guarantee just in case you change your mind. Sadly, IPVanish doesn’t offer a money-back guarantee on monthly plans, so keep that in mind when choosing a plan.

This round is pretty clear-cut. Surfshark has cheaper plans, a free trial, a better money-back guarantee and more features than IPVanish. Although IPVanish offers an online backup solution, you can get a better deal by getting a stand-alone backup service like IDrive. For that reason, Surfshark wins this round.

Round: Pricing
Point for Surfshark
Visit Surfshark3
Visit IPVanish1

4. Security & Privacy

A reliable VPN should deliver top-notch online privacy and security. That means the service should offer secure VPN protocols and encryption and adhere to a no-logs privacy policy. 

Both Surfshark and IPVanish offer secure protocols OpenVPN (UDP and TCP), WireGuard and IKEv2. Beyond that, IPVanish supports SSTP, PPTP and L2TP protocols, though these are less secure and we don’t recommend using them. In terms of encryption, both providers use AES 256-bit encryption, which is as secure as VPN encryption gets.

ipvanish vpn protocols
IPVanish offers excellent security, thanks to its secure VPN protocols like OpenVPN and WireGuard. 

In addition, both use obfuscation technology: Surfshark has camouflage mode, whereas IPVanish lets you hide your VPN traffic on OpenVPN. Obfuscation hides the fact that you’re using a VPN, enabling you to access geo-restricted content in countries that ban VPN use. Other notable security features for both include IPv6 and DNS leak protection.

Beyond obfuscation, Surfshark has a multi-hop VPN feature that sends your VPN traffic through two servers, adding an extra layer of protection. It also has NoBorders mode, a feature that helps you bypass internet restrictions in restrictive countries like China.

surfshark noborders mode
Surfshark uses features such as the NoBorders mode to help you circumvent the Great Firewall and other internet restrictions. 

IPVanish vs Surfshark No-Logs Policy

Surfshark adheres to a strict no-logs policy, meaning it doesn’t collect, store or share your personal information, traffic logs, IP addresses or details about the websites you visit. It does collect your user ID and connection timestamps tied to the server you connect to, but deletes these details after 15 minutes. 

Note: Surfshark offers Surfshark Incogni — a software that expedites the handling of data removal requests. However, it comes as a standalone tool, and has no bearing on Surfshark VPN’s performance in this category.

Surfshark privacy policy
Surfshark has a strict no-logs policy and is based in a jurisdiction with privacy-friendly laws. 

The story is different for IPVanish. As we discuss in our IPVanish review, the provider’s stance on user privacy was tested in 2016 and it fell flat. IPVanish shared a user’s data after a subpoena, despite claiming not to collect, store or share user traffic logs.

The provider has been acquired several times since that incident, and the current parent company — NetProject — updated the privacy policy in March 2021. Unfortunately, it has not undergone independent audits to determine if its claim still holds. Still, there have been no publicized cases of IPVanish violating its privacy policy.

Even though both providers have secure protocols and encryption, Surfshark has more to show in terms of advanced security features. Moreover, it has never broken its strict no-logs policy and is the deserved winner here.

Round: Security & Privacy
Point for Surfshark
Visit Surfshark4
Visit IPVanish1

5. Streaming

A VPN’s streaming performance comes down to its speed and ability to unblock streaming services. Surfshark has faster speeds than IPVanish, which gives it a head start, but does it pack the punch to unblock all streaming services? We did a batch of tests to see how the two compare.

ipvanish for streaming
IPVanish sometimes suffers from buffering and video lags because of its slower speeds. 

Their streaming performances were a mixed bag. Surfshark unblocked Netflix and Disney Plus on the first attempt, but took multiple attempts to unblock BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video and HBO Max. The streaming was smooth, without buffering or video lags, which corresponds to its faster download speeds.  

IPVanish got us into Netflix, HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video on the first attempt, but struggled with other streaming services. It took us multiple attempts to get into Disney Plus and BBC iPlayer. Videos took too long to load and we had to put up with occasional buffering and video lags. 

For the sake of our IPVanish vs Surfshark comparison, the providers are on equal footing. That said, neither provider is adept at streaming, given their dismal performances. If you need the best VPN for streaming, consider ExpressVPN — the fastest VPN with unmatched ability to unblock streaming services. 

Round: Streaming
No clear winner, points for both
Visit Surfshark5
Visit IPVanish2

6. Torrenting

Though neither VPN offers specialized P2P servers, we expected Surfshark to deliver a better torrenting performance.  We used both VPNs to download a 1.2GB torrent file on a 3 Mbps internet. 

VPN Service:Top Download SpeedDownload Time
IPVanish0.39 MB/s93 minutes
Surfshark0.43 MB/s71 minutes

As we saw in our Surfshark vs ExpressVPN comparison, Surfshark started out slowly but quickly gathered pace to hit a maximum speed of 0.43 MB/s, and needed 71 minutes to complete the download. IPVanish, on the other hand, had maximum speeds of 0.39 MB/s and took 93 minutes to download the test torrent file. 

Our torrent download test results proved us right: Surfshark has faster speeds and it’s not surprising that it outperformed IPVanish to take the point in this category. 

Round: Torrenting
Point for Surfshark
Visit Surfshark6
Visit IPVanish2

7. Server Locations

As far as VPN servers go, we evaluate the VPN providers through the lenses of server distribution and server count. The geographical diversity of servers carries more weight in our comparisons, though.

When it comes to the server count, Surfshark is the clear winner, with more than 3,200 shared IP servers, compared to IPVanish’s tally of 2,000. In addition, Surfshark offers static IP servers in five countries: Germany, U.S., U.K., Japan and Singapore. Be sure to check our best VPN with dedicated and static IPs to learn more.  

Surfshark server
Even though Surfshark hasn’t been in the industry for long, it has amassed more than 3,200 VPN servers.  

IPVanish turns the tables on its rival with a better server distribution. It has established server footprints in over 75 countries, which is 10 more than Surfshark. IPVanish won in that regard, but given Surfshark’s impressive overall server count, this category has to end in a tie. 

Round: Server Locations
No clear winner, points for both
Visit Surfshark7
Visit IPVanish3

8. User-Friendliness

In this category, we look at the subjective realm of user experience. We’ll examine Surfshark and IPVanish apps to determine how easy (or difficult) they are to use. 

Surfshark is the epitome of ease of use as it offers a flat learning curve for new users. The Windows app opens to a neat main screen with clearly labeled tabs. You can search for a server location by country or scroll through the list of servers on the left.

Surfshark app Chile
Unlike IPVanish, which has a cluttered interface, Surfshark features a clean UI, which makes it easy to use. 

It also displays recently used servers and an option to “star” your favorite servers. The key configuration features are found under logically organized menus. The good thing is that it only takes the touch of a button to activate auto-connect, kill switch, Bypasser and other features.

IPVanish is still stuck in the past when it comes to the app’s layout. The home tab is crammed with a lot of information, which can be intimidating for new users. There are three options for finding a relevant server: search the server location by country, scroll through the list or find the server on a world map. 

ipvanish windows app
Like NordVPN, IPVanish allows you to connect to a server location by double-clicking the green dots on a world map. 

You also have an option to “star” favorite servers, but there’s no way to quickly find recently used servers. However, it’s easy to find key settings options under the various menus. 

VPN Service Mobile Apps

Surfshark’s Android app is as easy to use as the desktop version and has all the same features. Similarly, the iOS app is intuitive and comes packed with all desktop features except split tunneling. 

Surfshark VPN spain
Surfshark Android and iOS apps are feature-rich and easy to use. 

While IPVanish apps don’t feature a layout as polished and well-arranged as Surfshark’s, they offer a comprehensive set of features and are easier to use than their desktop versions. There are also extra features on mobile — for example, you can use split tunneling on Android devices. 

Surfshark nudges its way into the lead with neat, no-frills desktop and mobile apps. It’s also the easier to use of the two providers, and for these reasons, it takes the point.  

Round: User-Friendliness
Point for Surfshark
Visit Surfshark8
Visit IPVanish3

9. Customer Support

Both IPVanish and Surfshark offer multiple support channels including email, live chat, knowledgebase and FAQs. The knowledgebase is the best channel to find helpful guides and articles to solve minor installation, connectivity and billing problems. 

We used both live chat options, and we were impressed with the quality of the answers we got from the agents. The agents were fast and responded to our queries in under two minutes, which is impressive. The email is great if you want to engage the providers on a deeper level.

However, IPVanish has a leg up on Surfshark in that it offers 24/7 phone support. You can contact support agents through phone numbers in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Brazil, Germany, Mexico and Spain. Taking all factors into consideration, IPVanish is the winner in this round.

Round: Customer Support
Point for IPVanish
Visit Surfshark8
Visit IPVanish4

The Verdict

Our Surfshark vs IPVanish comparison was lopsided. Surfshark proved to be the better VPN service, with a total of eight points compared to the IPVanish score of four. The scores are a fair reflection of each VPN provider’s capabilities.

Surfshark dominated in major categories such as features, security and privacy, torrenting and user-friendliness. IPVanish claimed a solitary win in the customer support category and matched Surfshark’s performance on speed, streaming and server locations.

If you’d like to use a VPN that offers Surfshark’s strengths and mitigates its weak points read our Surfshark alternative guide. We also have an IPVanish alternative guide.

For similar comparison matchups, check out our CyberGhost vs Surfshark, Surfshark vs ProtonVPN and ExpressVPN vs NordVPN guides.

What do you think of our IPVanish vs Surfshark comparison? Have you used either of these services before? Do you think both providers got the score they deserved in each category? We’d like to hear about it. As always, thanks for reading. 

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