With so many new people being attracted to the VPN industry these days — whether for fear of surveillance, or the desire to escape censorship and geo-restrictions — it can be difficult to choose a good VPN service.
Whenever you look up the best VPNs, you will always get a list of the same few providers that are the stars of the VPN industry. However, with all of them offering similar prices and features, an inexperienced user cannot find a difference between them, even though these VPNs are definitely not all the same.
What to Look For in a VPN
As you may know, VPNs are all different, and you will not find two that are identical, although some of them do come close. The top services are among the most similar ones in the industry, as they all offer the best features. However, there are differences to be found even among them, if you know what to look for.
To understand how they differ and which one is better when comparing the two, you need to look into specific features and assess their quality. The features in question include things like:
- Privacy features
- Security features
- Plans and prices
- Concurrent connections
- Streaming potential
- Server network
- Customer support
IPVanish vs NordVPN
When it comes to user privacy, NordVPN is one of the industry’s champions. It is based in privacy-friendly Panama, and it has a zero-logs policy, as well as many features that are oriented towards protecting user privacy. One example is a kill switch, that cuts the user’s internet connection if the app malfunctions, so that it would prevent any data leaks.
IPVanish, on the other hand, claims to have the same no-logs policy, but the service is based in the US, which is a major issue for privacy-oriented people. As you may know, the US is one of the founding members of the 5 Eyes Surveillance Alliance — a group that has grown to become the 14 Eyes Surveillance Alliance.
As such, it is not a great option if you wish for privacy, as any VPN in the Alliance’s jurisdiction may receive an order to start recording data. If this happens, it might not be obligated to notify the affected users.
With all of that in mind, we need to give a privacy point to NordVPN.
Security, however, is another matter. The security features of our two competitors are excellent, regardless of which VPN you choose. They both use the industry’s strongest security protocol (OpenVPN) and encryption (256-bit AES) to keep your data from being intercepted or seen, at all.
NordVPN might be a bit better off when it comes to extra protections, such as masking your IP twice, the ability to block malware and ads, and alike.
All in all, it is pretty much a tie when it comes to the quality of protection, although NordVPN does offer a slightly better deal, for those who really want to take every possible precaution.
Let’s continue this comparison by looking into the speeds of the two. Speeds are important, as they determine the quality of your connection, as well as whether or not you can use a VPN for streaming, gaming, and torrenting.
NordVPN is known as a good choice for torrenting and streaming alike, but in terms of speed, it actually lost to IPVanish. Of course, with a good enough internet speed, the impact of a VPN may not even matter when it comes to the best services.
However, it is good to know which VPN is better, just in case speed is essential for what you plan to do with your VPN. Therefore, this point goes to IPVanish.
Plans and prices
Next, we have plans and prices. Our two competitors are rather similar in this regard, but there are slight differences. Here is what you get to choose from:
- 1-month plan for $5 per month
- 1-year plan for $3.25 per month (save 73%)
- 3-months plan for $4.50 per month
- 1-month pan for $11.95 per month
- 1-year plan for $6.99 per month
- 2-year plan for $4.99 per month
- 3-year plan for $3.49 per month
Both VPNs offer a monthly plan, and then they just straight to a yearly subscription, and longer plans. NordVPN has one extra offer that lasts for three years, but it is generally slightly more expensive, although the difference can be measured in cents per month.
They also both offer 30-day money-back guarantees, so due to all of the similarities, we would call this a tie.
Simultaneous, or concurrent connections are a big part of a VPN, especially these days, when every individual has multiple devices to protect. You wouldn’t want to pay for a new VPN license for each device, and if you wish to use a VPN to protect your entire family, that requires even more simultaneous connections.
Now, when it comes to NordVPN, this service offers as many as 6 simultaneous connections at once, which is pretty good for one person with many devices that require protecting, or a small family.
IPVanish, on the other hand, offers a much better deal of 10 simultaneous connections. With it, you can protect all of your devices at once. Of course, simultaneous connections only decide how many devices you can protect at the same time.
You can install a VPN app on an unlimited number of devices, but the number of concurrent connections decides how many of them can operate simultaneously.
The situation is, once again, different when it comes to streaming. We have already mentioned that IPVanish seems to have better speeds, which is why you could be forgiven for thinking that it is a better service for streaming. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and it doesn’t provide reliable access to streaming services at all.
At best, IPVanish’s streaming potential can be described as a hit-or-miss.
NordVPN, on the other hand, is a much better option if this is what you need a VPN for. The service is well-known for offering access to sites like foreign Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, DAZN, BBC iPlayer, Sky Go, and many others. And, while its speeds are somewhat slower — it is still more than good enough for streaming HD videos without experiencing buffering and similar problems,
In other words, this will definitely be a point in NordVPN’s favor, so if you need a VPN for unblocking streaming services — this is the one you want.
In terms of torrenting, both VPNs are pretty good. IPVanish’s speeds really make a difference here, and the service id more than a decent torrenting option.
NordVPN is just as good, with special P2P-enabled servers, all put in a single category so that it would be easier for you to find them quickly and protect your connection, while still choosing the best one in terms of speeds.
In the end, when it comes to this point, the two services are definitely evenly matched.
A VPN’s server network is more important than ever these days, and for multiple reasons. The more servers a VPN has, the better, as that means that you are less likely to end up using an overcrowded server. Also, with large server networks covering dozens of countries, you will always find a server relatively close by, which guarantees better speeds.
Lastly, covering multiple countries also means that you get to unblock their geo-restricted services and access the local content, which is also great.
Now, when it comes to IPVanish, the service has a decent server network covering 75 locations in 35 different countries. It has around 1,400 VPNs in total, with over 40,000 shared IPs.
However, while this is pretty good, it pales in comparison with the gigantic network that NordVPN has to offer. This service has 5,500 servers in 59 different countries around the world, and as such, it is a clear winner of this round.
If you need to unblock anything or enjoy a massive, rich server network in any other way, NordVPN is a service for you.
Of course, VPNs are most commonly used on PCs, which is hardly surprising, since these devices are still most commonly used. However, with the number of internet-connected devices constantly rising, you need a VPN that will protect as many of them as possible.
We already mentioned that IPVanish supports more simultaneous connections than NordVPN, but does that also include more devices and systems? Let’s see.
IPVanish offers dedicated apps for:
- Fire TV
As for NordVPN, this service can protect your:
- Android TV
Once again, the two are pretty similar. The most popular devices are definitely covered, and the differences are relatively minor. NordVPN is a better option for Android TV, while IPVanish is your best choice if you want to protect Fire TV. Both cover Chrome, but NordVPN also has an extension for Firefox, in case you prefer that browser.
Apart from these minor differences, we have another tie.
Lastly, let’s discuss customer support. This is an important part of every VPN, as the user needs to know that there is someone they can count on should they run into problems,
NordVPN understands this, and it provides customer support available via live chat or email. It also has a pretty extensive knowledgebase, so you can browse its site to find an answer if you want to try and solve the issue on your own. If not, support is very friendly and helpful, and you shouldn’t have any problems communicating.
As for IPVanish, the service has support available via live chat, ticket submission, as well as a pretty decent knowledgebase. It also added a support bot, which is available through a chat window. However, the support is not as efficient as NordVPN.
Still, we believe that human interaction is the best way to go when solving such issues, which is why we would give a point to NordVPN here.
And the Winner Is: NordVPN
After an extensive review of the two and a detailed comparison of their features, we have found that NordVPN offers a slightly better deal. In most areas, the two services are perfectly equal. But, when it comes to those where we can choose a clear winner, NordVPN simply won more times.
Of course, that means little if you need a VPN for a specific purpose, and one where IPVanish happens to be better at. In other words, it all depends on each individual case, and you have to decide for yourself which service is better for you. If you just want a VPN to browse the web safely, you pretty much can’t go wrong no matter which provider you choose.