An intense one, as a matter of fact.
Let’s cut to the chase: IPVanish and NordVPN are two of the most famous VPNs. NordVPN in particular is widely acclaimed and may be one of the best-received VPNs out now.
But IPVanish is no slouch either—millions love it.
So which one is better?
I thought at first this would be a simple comparison. But after reviewing my notes and experimenting with the apps again, I realized something:
They are incredibly close in so many ways. They have SO MANY strengths in common.
Which makes this one of the best VPN match-ups around!
But don’t worry—by the end of this review, we’ll have gotten to the bottom of it. Let’s find out what the best option for you is!
Table of content
Here is the glimpse of Price and Features:
|1 Year Plan||$6.49||$6.99|
Good performance is consistently the most sought-after quality of a VPN.
While it’s true that some people care less than others, for the most part, just about everyone wants to have decent speeds with their VPN.
Because after all, most VPNs will decrease your speeds at least a little bit. And if you’re in an airport or café, you may not have a lot of extra bandwidth to spare.
So let’s take a look at how IPVanish and NordVPN stack up with speed tests.
Let’s start with IPVanish. Here’s one WiFi test WITHOUT IPVanish equipped:
Cool. And here’s what the speed test showed a couple minutes later, WITH IPVanish:
Obviously, that’s pretty stunning. While connected to what IPVanish deemed the best server, my download speed actually INCREASED significantly, and my upload speed BARELY suffered.
So IPVanish is without a doubt one of the best performers out there, at least by my testing.
Can NordVPN measure up?
I was at a café when I tested NordVPN. So these were the café’s speeds normally:
Yeah, kind of low—a good, real-life situation.
Here’s what the speed test was WITH NordVPN:
Boom! True, the speeds are slightly worse…but it’s SO slight that it’s almost not worth mentioning.
A second test without the VPN could reveal the same difference. Clearly, NordVPN barely affected the speed at all.
So, it looks like our first round is done. Who won?
I can’t lie: IPVanish is the winner here. Later speed tests revealed a similar trend—for the most part, IPVanish’s speeds remained faster than NordVPN’s.
BUT, I don’t want any of you to think NordVPN is a slouch. Repeated testing has shown NordVPN to be one of the FASTEST VPNs around—there aren’t many VPNs that are better performers.
It just so happens that one of the few superiors to NordVPN is…yeah, IPVanish.
Of course, in day-to-day web browsing, they’re both super-fast, to the point most people wouldn’t even notice a difference.
Now, you may know that good performance with regular internet browsing does not guarantee good streaming performance.
So how well does Netflix work when accessed by NordVPN or IPVanish?
Luckily I’ve tested both. IPVanish let me access Korean Netflix quite easily:
And NordVPN allowed me to use Japanese Netflix with about the same speed:
So without a doubt, both are great for streaming.
But what about torrents?
I found that IPVanish was extremely fast with uTorrent:
And I had the same experience with NordVPN:
So wait—it sounds like they’re both amazing, right?
Well, yeah, they are. IPVanish and NordVPN can do it all—streaming from various locations, safe and fast torrents, and generally great performance.
But hey, at the end of the day, it’s pretty clear these two are among the best performing VPNs out right now.
See what I mean by the competition being intense? Guess it’s time to jump to the next thing:
Ease of Use
Ease of use is an underrated factor.
And I can see why, especially because it seems basically every popular VPN is ultimately easy to use. What’s left to talk about, right?
Not so fast, my friend. Ease of use is importance to talk about, because it means the difference between an app that’s way too complicated for you to use, and an app that’s way too simple for what you want.
The good news is that IPVanish and NordVPN are mostly similar in how user-friendly they are:
They’re easy to use, but offer some more advanced features and settings.
But it’s not just the actual software—getting started is super easy for both. You pay for them the way you’d pay for anything online, and then you can get to installing them.
NordVPN installs pretty quickly, and with little pain:
So does IPVanish:
In fact, there are no real issues there to talk about—both are smooth to set up.
The bigger question, as I was just saying, is about the apps themselves.
This is basically what IPVanish’s app looks like:
Which to be honest, is a look I love.
It’s not just the aesthetic: there’s plenty of useful information on the home page, and it’s easy to navigate around.
The server list section of the app also looks good:
IPVanish’s app is great at letting you look through the locations. You can sort by country or some other categories in a simple list view.
You can also choose from a map:
You can also look through servers by adding different filters:
All of this comes together to form one of the BEST server-list setups I’ve seen in a VPN software.
Accessing settings and features is also pretty streamlined, and not too difficult to use:
It’s true that at some point things might get a little advanced, but for the most part it’s pretty clear and easy to use.
Now, I can’t really hide how big a fan I am of IPVanish’s user-interface. You might be wondering if I feel similarly for NordVPN.
Hm…not quite, but NordVPN’s setup is still pretty good:
It basically combines the list and map view into a home page. Everything’s more condensed, which some people prefer, and which I’m so-so about.
Nonetheless, it’s pretty useful. My big complaint is that there’s less detail in the app itself compared to IPVanish.
But it’s not too big a deal. Plus, NordVPN makes its specialty servers and features very easily available:
So that’s a plus.
The settings tab is about as easy to use as IPVanish’s:
In fact, it’s even a bit easier, because of this:
Which pops up when you try to mess with more advanced settings.
You’ll see some more of the apps in the next section, where I’ll cover features and settings, but I think you’ve seen enough for my ease of use comparison to make sense.
…So: I think overall, NordVPN is easier to use, but IPVanish integrates complexity better.
It’s hard to articulate, because there’s an unusual amount of nuance in this competition, but bear with me:
IPVanish and NordVPN are both overall easy to use, and have more advanced features (as you’ll see soon).
But, NordVPN’s app simplifies things a little more, and IPVanish allows for more details in the settings and in server browsing.
Ultimately, I can’t really declare a winner—it just comes down to personal taste.
I know, I know—the competition is still intense. IPVanish and NordVPN seem to insist on outdoing each other!
Lucky for us, this holds true for the features as well:
Pricing and Features Comparison
Okay, I think features are pretty important to most of us. Even people who don’t care about having a ton of features, still want to have a decent selection of servers and locations.
But just before we jump into the features, let’s take a look at the prices.
These are Nord’s prices:
Unfortunately, NordVPN dropped its one-year commitment. I think that’s just silly, because the difference between wanting to commit to one year and two is sizeable.
But hey, this is what we’re looking at. And honestly, it’s not too bad.
The three-year plan obviously is on the more affordable side, but that’s usually the case. The one-month plan is on the pricier side, for VPNs.
And for two-years? I’d say it’s so-so, about average.
Now, here’s what IPVanish is selling:
Now, this is obviously WAY different.
After all, NordVPN is only selling monthly and two-year + commitments. IPVanish instead only goes up to a year.
But that yearly price? I gotta say, it’s on the higher side. Without a doubt, it’s above average.
The monthly price is a bit cheaper than usual, and the price for three months is…well, in my opinion, still on the higher side.
It’s too bad, ‘cause IPVanish used to have lower prices—but I guess these things tend to fluctuate.
But ballpark, I’d say NordVPN is on the average side of pricing and has good value prices. IPVanish has above-average short-term prices.
It’s easy to say NordVPN is the winner, but the truth is, we can’t really say whether those prices are good or not, until we’ve seen the FULL picture of what these contenders bring to the table.
Remember, we already know both of them are GREAT performers, so higher prices are more justified.
But more features? That could justify them even more.
And the most fundamental feature you want a VPN to be strong in?
So, here’s what IPVanish is packing:
And this is NordVPN’s count:
NordVPN wins out on servers, NO CONTEST.
But that doesn’t mean you should just abandon your interest in IPVanish. IPVanish is still offering over 75 locations, which is worth something. And a network of over 1,300 servers isn’t bad at all.
But, none of that really comes close to the 5,497 servers offered by NordVPN. And locations? The thing is, countries and locations are different.
So NordVPN offering 60 countries could mean way more than 75 locations—but in practice, it’s not such a difference in location count.
And location count ultimately is what’ll matter most to most users.
Now, aside from that, there are some other basics to take a look at:
IPVanish lets you get 10 simultaneous connections, which is A LOT. Absolutely on the higher side, as VPNs go.
Nord, in contrast, only gives you up to 6. Only?! Yeah, 6 is still above average. But I guess IPVanish takes this one.
The other basic features are about comparable. For example, they offer software/apps for a similar range of devices and platforms. And both offer automatic kill switches and leak protection.
NordVPN offers the typical IKEv2/IPsec and OpenVPN protocols. IPVanish does too, but IPVanish, to its credit, also offers this:
Additionally, IPVanish has the handy ability of applying kill switch and leak prevention tools to specific protocols. Like this:
So that’s really handy. IPVanish wins at least as far as protocols go, but at least for most people, IKEv2/IPsec and OpenVPN will be good enough.
Something AWESOME that IPVanish also offers for its OpenVPN protocol is THIS:
The “obfuscate” feature basically lets you hide the fact that you’re using an encrypted connection from your ISP. I think this is one of the most useful features a VPN can have.
It’s easy to think IPVanish would win right away. BUT, here’s the thing:
NordVPN offers obfuscated servers, which fill the same purpose.
AND, NordVPN here’s the thing about NordVPN’s kill switch:
It’s even more advanced than IPVanish’s, because you can choose which apps you want the feature to target. Which makes the kill switch much more attractive of an option.
Also, NordVPN has some additional advanced security features. Take this, for example:
The double-VPN setting, as you’d expect, doubles your encryption.
There’s also this:
It’s a pretty unique feature that lets you connect to the Onion Network in addition to your VPN connection. It also makes using the Tor Browser in combination with the app super easy.
These two show me that NordVPN has better security features than IPVanish, even if IPVanish has more flexibility in choosing protocols.
But here’s the thing: IPVanish’s features essentially end here…and NordVPN still has a little more to talk about.
NordVPN offers a rudimentary ad-block and malware block:
And while both IPVanish and NordVPN have dedicated servers available for purchase, NordVPN also offers these servers free of charge:
These are servers optimized for peer-to-peer sharing. IPVanish is ostensibly P2P-friendly, but that’s different from actually providing specially optimized servers.
Now, I could go on and on about the settings each of these apps offer, and the nuances of them, but they’re overall the same.
And as far as the main features that we care about go, they’ve been covered. So where do we stand?
To be honest, it’s pretty clear to me that the competition is stiff, even in the features department. The ultimate conclusion:
BOTH of them are fully-featured. BUT, NordVPN definitely has some EXTRA features that go above and beyond the norm, and for that reason, I’d say NordVPN is ultimately the better-featured VPN.
Don’t get me wrong though—IPVanish is one of the more feature-rich VPNs around.
And price? Well, NordVPN is still overall cheaper. But don’t think that NordVPN is the clear winner yet—we actually have some more ups and downs to cover, first!
I figure people will be quick to skim through this section, or even skip it entirely. Fair enough! (I catch myself doing the same thing).
But customer support can be pretty important, even when a VPN is super easy to use. That’s because things change, especially when it comes to ISPs or streaming services cracking down on VPNs.
When stuff like that happens, solid customer support is your best way to quickly counter whatever restrictions have been imposed on you.
And if you’re a beginner—well, I guess it’s pretty clear why you’d want solid customer support.
So how do they do?
I’ll look first at your options for contacting representatives.
IPVanish’s site has a little help button in the bottom right corner, which you can use either to search through support articles or to activate a live chat
The live chats tend to be pretty efficient:
As you can see, I got a quick answer in less than a minute.
NordVPN’s live chats basically the same in response time and quality:
Both IPVanish and NordVPN also have ticket/email support, and both of those are pretty good.
I do think I’ve had overall better experiences with NordVPN’s customer support via email/ticket than with IPVanish’s…but still, they’re both solid.
So let’s take a look at the other kind of customer support: aside from contacting representatives, we can also look at informational material provided by the VPN.
IPVanish’s support center is a little basic:
But it’s decent enough. There are a few categories of articles:
And the setup guides are fairly detailed and cover quite a few platforms:
But sometimes the support center can feel a little basic, outdated, or lacking in details.
I guess, as far as VPN support centers go, you can’t really complain about IPVanish’s too much. But compared to NordVPN’s?
Ah, well…they’re actually not that different in quality.
I do prefer NordVPN’s setup guides—they’re a little more extensive:
But otherwise, they’re about equivalent support resources in terms of quality.
Wait, so is there even a winner in customer support?
Not exactly. Not a clear one, anyway. I’d generally hand this to NordVPN because I’ve had a better time using the ticket system and some aspects of the support center are more to my taste.
But it’s not a big enough lead for me to say NordVPN definitively has better customer support.
Dang! What a great rivalry!
I guess that means this area could be the big decider:
Security and Privacy
Security and privacy are the areas that, ironically, VPNs trip over the MOST. Seriously—and it’s really unfortunate, because VPNs are supposed to be about securing a customer’s traffic.
The competition has been close thus far. And this factor is, in fact, going to tip the scales for many of you.
It all goes back to the fundamentals:
Meaning, the no-logs policy.
Basically every premium VPN has one. Several have been exposed for violating or evading their no-logs policies—either through loopholes in the terms of service, or simply by simply breaking the terms.
There’s no easy way to break it to you:
IPVanish does NOT do well here.
That’s because of this:
To make a long story short, IPVanish indeed assisted the Department of Homeland Security by handing over info about a customer.
Was this customer a good guy?
No, but that’s beside the point. Because IPVanish handed over more information that it should even have had in the first place:
And court documents show that IPVanish routinely kept more logs about its customers than it says it did.
Since then, IPVanish has changed management. So things could be different—but if you want a VPN for privacy reasons, you don’t need to take a chance. You DEFINITELY should NOT settle.
Especially when NordVPN is such a positive contrast:
NordVPN’s no-logs policy has been AUDITED by a third party, which automatically makes it one of the most trustworthy VPNs around.
Let me explain the contrast between the two:
Basically every VPN has a no-logs policy, and for the most part you simply need to take their word for it.
But SOME VPNs get caught violating their no-logs policies—that’s a super helpful disqualifier for those who care.
And SOME VPNs get their no-logs policies audited OR have their lack of logging proven by court documents and government requests.
So, IPVanish and NordVPN stand in super stark contrast on logging.
Now, to its credit, IPVanish has a few good points on security:
IPVanish owns its own servers, and has even pulled servers from Russia because of draconian surveillance laws:
Which is nice.
But on the other hand, NordVPN ALSO runs all its own servers directly, without any third parties.
AND, NordVPN is located in a country that provides it with some extra protection from the 5 eyes (an international surveillance alliance):
Now, if the NSA is dedicated to finding you, NordVPN alone won’t save you. But that’d be true of literally any VPN, so for most users who care about privacy, this is a great VPN location.
And that’s not even the only point in NordVPN’s favor. Remember those security features I talked about earlier?
Those are excellent and pretty unique as well.
So here’s how the two stand:
IPVanish is a poor choice for those who care about privacy and security, judging by a very clear violation of its logging policies in the past.
It could be better now—but are you really going to take them on faith?
In contrast, NordVPN has had its logging policy independently verified, is located in Panama, AND has great security features as well.
In fact, NordVPN is overall one of the best VPNs for security and privacy. IPVanish is one of the worst.
But hey—believe it or not, this doesn’t exactly mean the game is up.
Which VPN is better? There’s some nuance, my friends:
Well, like I’ve said, there’s quite a bit of nuance. But you probably want a quick answer, so here’s my general answer:
NordVPN is better.
Why? Because NordVPN has all the same strengths that IPVanish does, and none of the weaknesses. In fact, it even has a little extra.
For example, suppose you don’t care about privacy and you just want to stream. Even if that’s the case, NordVPN is still a fantastic performer and is more affordable than IPVanish.
Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have a more secure VPN, right? Especially if it’s a bit cheaper, too!
You might be wondering why I’d recommend IPVanish over NordVPN at all—well, I would for a very specific type of person:
People who like the user interface.
Yeah, I’m being dead serious. IPVanish’s server list is much better set up and is much more fun to use and detail oriented in the application, at least to me, plus the app looks pretty good and has a little more detail in the settings.
But as you can see, it mostly comes down to whether or not you strongly prefer IPVanish’s software.
If you don’t care as much, I’ve got to recommend NordVPN: even if it doesn’t perform as well, it’s still one of the best performers out there.
It’s got solid customer support, is easy to use but still has lots of good features, is GREAT on privacy, has a HUGE server network…and it’s generally cheaper than IPVanish anyway.