Having trouble figuring out which VPN service to sign-up to?
It’s certainly a competitive space these days. VPN providers now offer what we could call a suite of features in their subscriptions.
But with so many features on offer, it can be hard to cut through the noise and get an accurate picture.
In this post, we put NordVPN and IPVanish head to head to see which one we recommend.
NordVPN vs IPVanish - Side By Side
[vpn vpn_1="NordVPN" vpn_2="IPVanish"]
Can't choose between NordVPN or IPVanish?
Both providers tick the right boxes on paper. They both have robust privacy and no-logging policies on display. However, IPVanish actively spied on its users in 2016. So trusting them is inevitably going to be a big ask.
NordVPN, on the other, was hacked in 2018. And though I prefer an accidental breach (NordVPN) to an intentional one (IPVanish), this is still somewhat concerning - albeit less.
But if this seems to put them on equal footing, consider that NordVPN offers more features and more useful features, while costing less than IPVanish.
Let’s look at this in more detail.
Obviously, speed is going to be pretty high on the list of “must-haves” for a VPN provider. After all, you don’t want to be paying for bandwidth you’re not getting.
So how do NordVPN and IPVanish fair on speed?
Tested on a 60Mbps (Download) and 30Mbps (Upload) network
Server: U.S.A., New York
Average Download Speed: 65.77Mbps
Average Upload Speed: 22.89Mbps
Tested on a 45Mbps (Download) and 15Mbps (Upload) network
Server: U.S.A., New York
Average Download Speed: 35.04Mbps
Average Upload Speed: 11.12Mbps
With NordVPN, I’m actually getting a speed boost. This is likely due to network infrastructure volatility, but we’ll take it.
With IPVanish, we’re losing about 20Mbps. This is not dramatic, as any VPN typically causes a speed decrease. But it’s clearly not as good as NordVPN.
NordVPN takes the prize here. It is significantly faster than IPVanish.
Do note, however, that speed tests themselves are volatile. Perform the same test tomorrow and the results may well be completely different.
To find out more about NordVPN’s speeds, check out our Does NordVPN Slow Down Your Internet Speed? (Tested) article.
VPN providers today build official client apps to use with their service. This is especially practical for new VPN users, who may not be familiar with the technical ins and outs of using a VPN. So it’s very important for the design of the app to be the user-friendly.
Both NordVPN and IPVanish provide official client apps to their users.
NordVPN also provides browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. And while a browser extension won’t make or break a VPN provider, it’s still nice to have.
NordVPN allows up to 6 simultaneous connections, whereas IPVanish places no limit. You can have as many simultaneous connections as you want to IPVanish’s service.
Aside from their respective apps, bot providers offer unlimited bandwidth. But to be fair, unlimited bandwidth is a given today for any serious VPN service.
I find IPVanish’s user interface to be hard on the eyes. It’s also more difficult to navigate, in my opinion.
NordVPN’s app, on the other hand, is clearer to me. And it’s UI is less busy. They also provide support for more platforms.
NordVPN takes it in this category, even with their limit of 6 simultaneous connections.
As streaming services continue to grow and replace traditional cableTV, bypassing geo-restrictions and VPN bans have become important features on offer by VPN providers.
Both NordVPN and IPVanish are able to bypass geo-restrictions. So they’re difficult to distinguish here.
However, IPVanish cannot bypass the Netflix VPN ban. Using IPVanish, we weren’t even able to login to our Netflix account.
NordVPN, on the other hand, bypasses Netflix’s VPN ban easily and provides detailed instructions on how to do so.
For more information on streaming over NordVPN’s network, have a look at our Does NordVPN Work With Netflix? article.
Both NordVPN and IPVanish are able to bypass geo-restrictions. But only NordVPN bypasses the Netflix VPN ban. NordVPN takes the prize again.
4. Security and Encryption
The ciphers and encryption levels adopted by a VPN provider are a critical part of any VPN service.
AES-256 is the cipher used by both providers here. And it is a very secure cipher with no known vulnerabilities. This applies to both IKEv2 and OpenVPN.
However, NordVPN also supports WireGuard (which they call NordLynx). And WireGuard uses only the latest security schemes. As such, it uses Curve25519, ChaCha20, Poly1305, BLAKE2, as ciphers, among others.
We can also give bonus points to NordVPN for building a kill switch into their native apps. If ever your VPN connection drops, the kill switch will block all traffic from exiting your device.
The winner would have to be NordVPN again. Kill switch and WireGuard support (with its modern ciphers) put NordVPN on top. And while WireGuard is still in development, it is set to become the new standard in VPN protocols.
5. Logs and Privacy
Both NordVPN and IPVanish have strongly worded privacy policies and no-logging policies.
“We care deeply about your privacy rights, and we do not log any traffic or usage of our VPN. We do not sell or rent personal information to others, under any circumstance. Your data is secured and rendered anonymous whenever you are connected to our Services. In order to provide you with our Services, we need to collect an email address and payment method to process transactions.”
“NordVPN guarantees a strict no-logs policy for NordVPN services, meaning that your activities using NordVPN Services are provided by automated technical process, are not monitored, recorded, logged, stored or passed to any third party. We do not store connection time stamps, session information, used bandwidth, traffic logs, IP addresses or other data. From the moment a NordVPN.com user turns on the NordVPN.com software, their Internet data becomes encrypted. Any online traffic coming from user’s device is no longer visible to ISP, third-party snoopers or cyber criminals. Further, NordVPN have a strict no logs policy when it comes to seeing user activity online: NordVPN is based in Panama, which does not require data storage.”
NordVPN was hacked in 2018. But being hacked doesn’t imply misleading your users, whereas actively spying on them does.
To find out more about the IPVanish logging controversy, take a look at our IPVanish Deep Dive Review.
For more information on the NordVPN hack, check out our NordVPN: Complete Review – The Good, The Bad And Everything In-Between, and Is NordVPN Safe? articles.
What do you think? Should a VPN provider who actively and knowingly spied on their users despite claiming the didn’t win in the “Policies” category? I don’t think so. NordVPN takes it again.
Let’s now turn to pricing.
Below, you’ll find the different packages, prices and accepted paymentmethods for each provider:
NordVPNGet NordVPN (save 70%)
- 11.95 USD for one month of service
- 83.88 USD for one year of service (works out to 6.99 USD per month)
- 119.76 USD for two years of service (works out to 4.99 USD per month)
- 125.64 USD for three years of service (works out to 3.49 USD per month)
- Credit Card
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
- Amazon Pay
IPVanishGet IPVanish (save 46%)
- 10.00 USD for one month of service
- 26.99 USD for three months of service (works out to 8.99 USD per month)
- 77.99 USD for one year of service (works out to 6.49 USD per month)
- Credit Card
And both providers offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
So, NordVPN is more expensive than IPVanish on a single month subscription. And slightly more expensive on the yearly plan. However, as soon as you move up to the two or three-year plan, NordVPN is substantially cheaper than IPVanish.
And, in my book, I’d still rather pay 2 dollars more for a trustworthy VPN than save a couple of bucks and be spied on.
I’m giving the prize to NordVPN here again.
IPVanish doesn’t make a big deal about torrenting on their website. All I was able to really find is a support document explaining how to use their SOCKS5 proxy for P2P file-sharing.
A proxy server will change your IP address to that of the proxy and makes it appear as if your traffic originates from the proxy server’s location. Just like a VPN.
However, a proxy server does not encrypt your traffic. It passes it along unencrypted.
While this might be faster than a VPN, due to the reduced overhead, I just don’t understand how a VPN provider could encourage its customers to NOT use a VPN and engage in P2P file-sharing using an unencrypted connection.
In my book, that makes no sense.
NordVPN, on the other hand, offers dedicated P2P servers, which are clearly labeled in the apps. You simply need to connect to one of these servers and you’ll be enjoying encrypted torrenting.
We have a no-brainer here, folks. NordVPN takes it. IPVanish simply can’t compete in the Torrenting category.
8. Other Features
The distinctions between the two providers don’t end here. Below is a shortlist of other differences between the two service offerings.
They all go in NordVPN’s favor, because they, well… offer a better VPN service.
- NordVPN supports multiple server hops. IPVanish does not.
- NordVPN offers an ad & tracker blocker. IPVanish does not.
- NordVPN publishes a warrant canary. IPVanish does not.
- NordVPN supports Tor over VPN. IPVanish does not.
- Onion Over VPN: NordVPN’s Onion Over VPN is a great security feature that isn’t offered by every provider. It enables you to route all of your device’s traffic over the Tor network, on top of the VPN. It is thoughtfully implemented and is easy to use by even the greenest VPN users.
- WireGuard Support: Another standout feature of NordVPN’s subscriptions is its support for the WireGuard protocol. WireGuard may still need to be considered experimental, but it’s pretty safe to say that it represents the future of VPNs. It is extremely fast, has a simple code base, making it easily auditable and supports only the most modern encryption ciphers.
- Free SugarSync Subscription: IPVanish bundles a free SugarSync subscription on all of their VPN plans. SugarSync is a secure online backup service. The free subscription provides remote storage space for up to 250 GBs. Normally, this subscription costs 10 USD per month.
- SOCKS5 Proxy Support: IPVanish provides access to a SOCKS5 proxy server. They promote it for torrenting use. A proxy server will change your IP address and location but does not encrypt your traffic. This makes it faster, but less secure than a VPN. I’m a bit confused as to why a VPN provider would promote this.
Compare other features here. The winner in this category has the best features.
The features on offer from NordVPN are simple more secure, more useful, and more user-friendly. On this metric, as with all the others, NordVPN is the superior service.
Conclusion: NordVPN vs Surfshark
And the winner is…?
We had seven categories:
- Speed – (NordVPN)
- User-friendliness – (NordVPN)
- Streaming – (NordVPN)
- Logs and Privacy – (NordVPN)
- Pricing – (NordVPN)
- Torrenting – (NordVPN)
- Features – (NordVPN)
We attribute one point to the winner in each category. And we would give both of them a point if there’s a tie.
So let’s see now… That’s 7 points for NordVPN… Now let’s calculate the points for IPVanish… Hmmm… Yeah, zero… 🙂
NordVPN is clearly the better VPN service here. This is true for security, for privacy, for trustworthiness, for convenience, and for features. There are just no areas in which IPVanish comes out on top.
Also, it’s just not in my D.N.A. to recommend a privacy company that has spied on its users.
Go With NordVPN if:
- You really care about security and privacy
- You engage in P2P file-sharing often
- You want to unblock Netflix
Go With IPVanish if:
- You want a free online backup subscription
- You want to use a SOCKS5 proxy for torrenting
- You’re not all that concerned with security & privacy
Thanks for reading!Get IPVanish (save 46%)
NordVPN Vs. IPVanish: Who Comes Out On Top?
By Marc Dahan
Last updated: May 25, 2020