If you're looking to improve your online privacy and experience, you may be thinking about Investing in a virtual private network. But what's somewhat difficult is finding a provider that ticks all the right boxes, as there are so many on the market to choose from.
Two potential contenders that you may have come across are ExpressVPN and IPVanish, which both rank among the best VPNs out there. However, which one should you choose? We compare them on price, speed, user experience, features and many other areas to help you select the best service based on your needs and expectations.
What is a VPN?
First of all, it's worth explaining what VPNs are, what they do and why you might want one. Virtual private networks, or VPNs, are basically applications that enable you to generate a secure connection to browse the internet without exposing your identity. They will enable you to connect to servers in other countries or regions of the world so that your physical location isn't exposed.
The main aim of a VPN is to improve online privacy and security. By downloading a VPN, you can use public WiFi connections safely and won't need to worry about third parties (e.g. governments, internet service providers, cyber criminals) spying on your internet activity. But VPNs also enable you to unblock content, get access to the best deals on the internet, stop bandwidth throttling, improve the experience of gaming and streaming, and much more.
ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: Which costs less?
When it comes to price, ExpressVPN and IPVanish certainly aren't the cheapest VPNs on the market. But IPVanish is the cheapest option out of the two, offering three subscription plans in total: $10 per month, $77.99 per year or $26.99 for three months.
The $77.99 annual plan is the cheapest overall because it works out as $6.49 per month, but of course, you'd need to pay an upfront fee. Meanwhile, the three months plan is equivalent to $8.99 per month, which is also cheaper than the $10 monthly plan.
In terms of pricing, ExpressvPN isn't much more expensive. Like IPVanish, it offers three subscription plans: $12.95 per month, $59.95 every six months or $99.95 per year. Both providers offer 30-day money-back guarantees, so you have plenty of time to get a refund if you're not happy with your pick.
ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: How's the security?
VPNs are all about improving your online privacy, so any best-in-class provider is going to offer a range of security and privacy features. And ExpressVPN and IPVanish aren't any different.
IPVanish doesn't compromise on security, either. Some of its headline security and privacy features include 256-bit encryption, a SOCKS5 web proxy (which can be used for hiding your IP address if you use P2P or VOIP), a choice of the IKEv2, OpenVPN and L2TP/IPsec VPN protocols, 250GB of SugarSync encrypted storage and backup, as well as privacy tools like an IP checker and password generator.
ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: What about the speeds?
When testing the speed of ExpressVPN and IPVanish, neither provider was disappointing. In our review of ExpressVPN, we found that it offered impressive performance across multiple locations. However, we did notice that speeds dipped when using faraway connections, although that's to be expected and shouldn't be an issue.
IVPanish also performed well when we conducted speed tests in our review of the service. We experienced excellent download speeds in the US, and the most common speed was 220Mbps, which is great to see. But just like any other VPN service, speeds may slow down slightly if you connect to a server in another country or region. Overall, IPVanish does a great job in terms of speeds.
ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: Which one has better apps?
What also sets apart the best VPNs on the market is the quality of their apps. At the end of the day, you want to be able to connect to a server quickly and access all of the provider's features easily.
ExpressVPN offers apps for a range of different platforms, including Android and iOS, and they are really easy to use. You can quickly find and connect to one of the company's 3000 servers, and if you'd describe yourself as an advanced user, then you'll be happy with the fact that the app is packed with a range of pro-grade features.
But what about IPVanish? It, too, offers great apps for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux and many other types of devices. They're simple to use, enabling you to connect to the best server, and provide advanced features like a kill switch, the ability to choose different protocols, white and black lists, and much more. Whichever provider you choose, rest assured the apps are great to use.
ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: Which is better for streaming?
Like many people, you might want to use a VPN to get around geo restrictions and unblock streaming services that may not be accessible where you live.
Given that ExpressVPN is our favorite overall provider, you can expect an excellent streaming experience. In fact, it enables you to access Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney Plus and lots of other streaming services.
With IPVanish, you can unblock streaming platforms such as Netflix, YouTube and Spotify. However, if you love watching movies and TV shows made in the UK, you may want to pick ExpressVPN because unblocking BBC iPlayer is virtually impossible with IPVanish.
Both ExpressVPN and IPVanish come with unlimited bandwidth, so you'll be able to stream as many movies, TV shows and songs as you want without having to worry about data caps. That said, our pick for streaming would be ExpressVPN - it just offers access to so many streaming sites.
ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: Which has better customer support?
Customer support is an important part of any business, and things aren't any different in the VPN space. With ExpressVPN and IPVanish both being best-in-class providers, neither should let you down in terms of customer support.
Express VPN has a dedicated support center where you can find troubleshooting guides, instructions, how-to videos, a live chat, and links to send an email or submit a support ticket. We also like the fact that common support topics are displayed at the bottom of the page and that there's a search bar so that you can find answers to specific problems you may be experiencing.
Similarly, IPVanish offers a comprehensive support center where you can access frequently asked questions, setup guides, questions about billing, troubleshooting guides and a support email. You can also speak to a member of the IPVanish support team via a live chat, so you're getting a similar customer service experience to ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: Do they keep logs?
The whole point of a VPN is to improve online privacy, so if a provider were to collect and store internet logs, they'd be defeating their objective. Luckily, ExpressVPN and IPVanish have both implemented strict no-logs and privacy policies.
Let's kick off with ExpressVPN. The British Virgin Islands-based provider promises not to record information such as IP addresses, browsing history, traffic destination, metadata or DNS queries. Meanwhile, IPVanish describes itself as a "a zero-logs VPN service provider." that won't "keep a record of any connection, traffic, or activity data." It's fair to say that both companies take the issue of privacy seriously.
ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: The bottom line
When it comes to choosing either ExpressVPN or IPVanish, it really depends on what you want to get out of the service. On the whole, both are highly capable VPN services and offer loads of great features. If you're basing your choice solely on price, IPVanish is slightly cheaper. But if the lack of access to BBC iPlayer is a deal breaker, ExpressVPN doesn't cost much more and is our number one VPN provider.
We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:
1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).
2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.
We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.
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