When you consider the number of VPNs out there, narrowing it down to just one VPN that you will actually use can be a bit of a struggle.
You’ll likely have a ton of questions (What’s the best protocol? Do I need P2P traffic? What’s a NAT firewall and do I really need one?) and with the amount of information out there it can be hard to really find out the answers.
Well luckily, if you are down to just ExpressVPN or IPVanish, then you know you are down to two of the big players in the VPN market. They both have some great features and whichever one you choose will likely just come down to the specific details of what you need from a VPN.
Hopefully, this article will help you make the final choice between the two VPN providers!
ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: Shared Features
The great thing about these VPNs is that they both have all the features that you would expect a top VPN to have. While there may be some differences when it comes to added extras, in terms of a VPNs bread and butter, they both have it all!
Security Protocols And Encryption
Both VPNs allow the user to choose from OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP/IPSec. ExpressVPN also allows the user to choose SSTP. Having said that, when one of the options is OpenVPN, why would you choose anything else?
OpenVPN is generally regarded as the most secure and also the fastest VPN out there so when given the choice you should really always choose to use it. While both VPNs offer PPTP, it is an old standard and should be avoided where possible due to its known vulnerabilities.
Another option for Windows users is SSTP (available with ExpressVPN). It is built for Windows and as such may be more stable than OpenVPN. The only downside is that as it isn’t open source it isn’t subject to independent audits like OpenVPN is.
In terms of encryption, both VPNs offer up to AES 256-bit encryption. This is incredibly secure and should keep any hackers away from your data. The more your data is encrypted, the longer it will take to secure your data for transmission, and the slower your connection will become. Therefore, if you need a slightly less secure (although still very secure) yet slightly faster connection, you can also choose AES 128-bit encryption.
ExpressVPN Top Features
- Servers in 94 countries
- Protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, PPTP
- Up to 3 simultaneous connections
- 256-bit encryption
- Built-in speed test
- Apps for all main operating systems
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Unlimited speed
IPVanish Top Features
- Servers in 60+ countries
- Protocols: OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP
- Up to 5 simultaneous connections
- 256-bit encryption
- Unlimited P2P traffic
- Apps for all main operating systems
- SOCKS5 proxy
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Unlimited speed
When it comes to logging there are two types that you should look out for. The first kind are usage logs. Usage logs are the most worrying as they can include details such as the sites you visit when connected to the VPN and the files you download. Neither IPVanish VPN nor ExpressVPN keeps usage logs.
The second type of log are connection logs. These logs contain details about your connection to the VPN and can include details such as when you connected, how long you connected for, and the amount of data you transferred.
While IPVanish claims to not keep any connection logs, ExpressVPN do say they keep some logs including the dates you use their service, your choice of location, and the total amount of data transferred per day. ExpressVPN say that the only reason they keep these logs is so that they can provide a better user experience.
A kill switch simply ensures that you never connect to the internet without the protection of your VPN.
Imagine you were browsing the net with your VPN turned on, but for some reason, you lost your connection to the VPN. If your VPN doesn’t have a kill switch, your connection would simply go straight to the website. You might never even know you lost your VPN connection. This is not optimal if security and are privacy are your main concerns.
If you have a kill switch, however, if you lose your connection to your VPN server the program will kill your internet connection. This means that it should be impossible for you to accidentally browse the web without the protection of your VPN.
DNS Leak Protection
If your DNS leaks, then your IP address could be revealed therefore ruining any of the privacy advantages brought by a VPN. When you browse the internet your browser sends a request to a DNS server which then sends you to your final destination. These DNS servers are usually assigned by your ISP which means they can see what you are browsing.
When you use a VPN, any request is first sent to an anonymous DNS server through the VPN. However, sometimes this doesn’t happen and your browser sends the request straight to your ISPs DNS server. This is known as a DNS leak and it can ruin your anonymity.
However, if your VPN has DNS leak protection then you shouldn’t need to worry about this happening.
Differences Between ExpressVPN And IPVanish VPN
While there are a number of features that both VPNs share, each VPN also has some unique features that help it stand out.
A NAT firewall is a great way to ensure you are protected when browsing the web.
Normally when you use the internet you are protected from outside dangers by the firewall on your router. However, when you use a VPN, your data is tunneled through the router meaning you lose the benefits of its firewall.
By choosing a VPN with a NAT firewall you will ensure that your connection is still firewalled off from the rest of the web.
Also, when you use data on your phone you don’t have the benefit of a firewall as you are connecting straight to the internet. Using a VPN with a NAT firewall on your mobile device can offer you extra protection.
It should be noted that ExpressVPN claim that they don’t actually need a NAT firewall. This is because the fact that multiple users on their service share the same IP address which acts as a firewall in itself.
IP updates can help ensure you stay anonymous online by changing you IP address every 45 minutes.
While it is a nice option to have, users of this feature should be aware that they will have no VPN connection while the IP address changes.
Intuitive Server Selection
Choosing the best server with IPVanish is really easy and three ways to choose which one to connect to.
List view shows all the countries that you can connect to in a simple list. This list can be organised in the following ways:
- Alphabetical order
- Response time
While it is pretty obvious what alphabetical order means, the real usefulness of this feature comes in the “response time” and the “load” options. Choosing a server with a higher response time means the server has higher latency. This means it will likely be slower than one with a low response time.
You should also keep an eye on the “load” option though as this relates to the amount of load resource on the server. A server with a high load resource could be slower than one with a low load resource.
The map view option allows you to simply click on a region and the IPVanish software will select the fastest server in that region. This can be a great way to ensure that you connect to a fast server.
The final way to choose a server is by filtering the available servers till you get one that fulfils all your needs.
Servers can be filtered by:
Speed test is a great feature that shows the speed of all the available VPN servers. This will allow you to connect to the VPN that will give you the fastest possible connection without having to test it out first.
Through the “Speed Test” you can see the latency and the download speed of each server, as well as a “speed index” that takes both categories into consideration to give an overall score.
Server Choice Galore
ExpressVPN has a seriously high number of servers in a ton of locations. In fact, according to their website they currently have 145+ VPN locations in 94 different countries. This can be great for unblocking content in a number of different countries or for ensuring you will have a VPN server available nearby.
While it is highly unlikely that you will ever use even a small percentage of all these servers, having so many options can be a great choice to have.
Do I Really Need A VPN?
Of course, many people browse the internet every single day without a VPN. This doesn’t mean that you don’t need one though. There are generally three reasons why you would use a VPN and they come down to privacy, security, and avoiding restrictions.
When you use the internet, it is possible that anyone from your ISP to the government could be spying on your browsing. Using a VPN is an effective way to reduce the chances of this happening.
When you use a VPN all your data is sent through an encrypted tunnel to a VPN server. This means that all your ISP will see of your browsing is the encrypted data, they will have no idea what you are actually doing.
We mentioned logs above, but if privacy is your main concern then you really should ensure that your VPN doesn’t take logs. After all, while your ISP can’t see the data you send when you use a VPN, your VPN can. If they take logs and someone gets a hold of these logs, then you are no more private than it would have been without the VPN.
Another big reason to use a VPN is for the added security provided by the encryption. If you are using a public network that has been compromised by a hacker there are two certainties:
1) It is unlikely that you will know the network has been hacked
2) The hacker will potentially be able to access any unencrypted data you send on the network
When you use a VPN, all your data is encrypted. This means that even if there is a hacker on the network trying to steal your data or passwords, they won’t be able to see anything other than the encrypted tunnel.
Access Restricted Content
Whether because of content licenses or government censorship, not being able to access content online can be a huge pain. However, using a VPN can help you get around these restrictions.
Say you are traveling in China and you want to access Facebook (or Google, or Youtube). Normally this would be impossible. However, by using a VPN server in a different country you can bypass the government restrictions and access Facebook as normal.
Likewise, if you are traveling and want to catch up with your favorite shows from back home, your streaming service may not allow you to as you have a foreign IP address. However, by connecting to a VPN server in your home country you will often be able to access the content as you would at home.
ISP throttling can seriously affect your internet’s performance and speeds when you browse certain types of web content. For example, if you stream or download, your ISP may ‘throttle’ the amount of bandwidth available for what you’re trying to do. This will slow down your connection.
However, if you use a VPN, your ISP won’t be able to see the type of content you are accessing or the IP addresses and ports, and will therefore be unable to throttle your connection.
Luckily, ISP throttling isn’t as common as it used to be but if you are still experiencing it, using a VPN can be a good way to get around this problem.
How Many Servers?
ExpressVPN and IPVanish both come equipped with a very high number of servers in a broad range of countries across the world.
Of the two companies, ExpressVPN has the highest number of server locations. It has servers in 145 cities in 94 different countries. That covers almost half the countries in the world! Basically, if what you are after is just a huge number of server locations then ExpressVPN would be a great choice.
However, IPVanish is no slouch. They have servers in 60 countries across Europe, North America, South America, Asia, and Africa.
- 94 Countries
- 145 Locations
- 60+ Countries
- 750 Servers
One thing to note is that while the number of server locations is important, what could be more important is having a high number of servers in locations that you are actually going to use.
If you want to check that that a VPN has servers in the countries you want to access your best bet is to check on their website or ask using the VPNs live chat tool.
No Speed Tests Then?
While knowing that you will get good speeds from your VPN is obviously important, we believe that speed test aren’t necessarily the best way to go about this.
This is simply because there are two many variables that could give an impression about the speed of one VPN that may be completely different to the actual speed someone with a different set of variables gets.
One thing that is sure is that a VPN will slow down your speeds slightly. How much this affects your internet speed will depend on a combination of the following:
- Your physical location
- The location of the VPN server you connect to
- The location of the servers of the website you are trying to access
- Level of encryption
- Your internet speeds
- The protocol you use
- How congested the VPN server is at the time you use it
Basically, there are a ton of variables and whatever tests we run will likely be completely irrelevant to how you use a VPN.
Having said that, both these VPNs are well trusted and will offer good speeds. The best way to see how they compare will simply be to download them and give them a try. Remember, they both offer money back guarantees if you don’t like them or they aren’t fast enough for your needs.
Of course, if there is a high demand from our readers, we may do speed test comparisons for certain VPN setups sometime in the future.
ExpressVPN vs IPVanish VPN Conclusion
Both ExpressVPN and IPVanish VPN are excellent products that will provide you with a good service. When choosing the best one for you, take a look through some of the features mentioned in this article and see which ones really stand out.
IPVanish stands out due to its intuitive interface and the fact that it has multiple ways to ensure you choose the best server is certainly a big bonus.
Both VPNs offer a money back guarantee and can also be signed up for a one month period which means that it is easy to try out one of the VPNs and see if it is a good fit for your needs.