NordVPN vs IPVanish

Our Take: Both NordVPN and IPVanish are good general choices for VPN service — which one is best for you depends on your needs. NordVPN’s 3-year pricing option is extremely inexpensive for the service offered, making it a good option for the budget conscious, especially if you can pay up front and are willing to commit to service over that length of time. But IPVanish’s unlimited device connections may be more favorable in homes where many people need to use multiple devices regularly. If you have a family of five all using one or two devices, for example, you may run into limitations on NordVPN.

Virtual private networks, or VPNs, can help you protect your privacy and browsing history in a world where your data is a highly valued commodity for businesses. But choosing a VPN can be difficult, especially for those who haven’t dabbled frequently in the more technical aspects of internet use. In this article, we breakdown the key features to look for in a VPN and give you the rundown of two solid choices to help you feel more confident comparing NordVPN and IPVanish. After reading this article, you can decide which of these might be a better choice for you.

How We Evaluated NordVPN vs IPVanish

You can choose from a lot of VPN services on the market, and they all have various features and benefits. Just looking through a few options can be enough to leave you spinning. To make it easier, we cut through the noise and pulled out some strong contenders. We’ve evaluated these two companies on the most important features for most VPN users, such as privacy and performance. What’s best for you depends on how you intend to use the VPN, but checking out our review of NordVPN vs. IPVanish gives you a great starting point in making this decision.

Common Features We Looked For

1. Security and Privacy The main reason for using a VPN is to secure your network and ensure privacy as you browse the internet or stream content. Naturally, you want to look for VPNs that have strong policies and services in this area, which can include but aren’t limited to:

  • No log policies, which mean the VPN doesn’t keep track of what you do online
  • Strong encryption — 256-bit AES with PBKDF2-HMAC-SHA512 is the highest level of encryption you can get as of mid 2020
  • Kill switch, which turns your connection off if the VPN stops working for any reason and leaves you unprotected

2. Server Coverage Your internet traffic must be routed through a server when connected to a VPN. The more servers available, the faster traffic can be because there’s no congestion on the servers. It’s also a good idea to look for a VPN with servers in multiple countries and locations. That way, natural disasters, such as earthquakes or hurricanes, or geo-political issues don’t have as much of an impact on whether you can connect to a viable server.

3. Performance Performance refers to how well the VPN does its job and how good your experience is using it. If the server speeds are super slow, you won’t be able to navigate the internet quickly or stream shows, for example, and that can make protecting your privacy so frustrating that you abandon the effort. Other performance metrics considered include monthly data limits, how many devices you can connect and what streaming services, browsers or operating systems are supported.

4. Price While privacy is important, you probably don’t want to break your budget over it. VPNs typically come with a monthly fee, and you may be able to save by committing to a year or more of service at once. We looked for VPNs that offered a lot of value for whatever price they chose and were affordable for most people to consider.

NordVPN vs IPVanish Comparison

We spent over 10 hours researching NordVPN and IPVanish to see how they compare with each other on the four most important features. Below is the breakdown.

Security and Privacy

NordVPN provides high-level security with an AES 256-bit encryption. We mentioned above that this is the highest level of encryption available, but it’s worth noting that this is what many government agencies use. It’s serious security. Extra authentication measures and perfect forward secrecy are also used to add protection to your data. PPS means that the “key” used to encode and decode your data changes every time you open a new VPN session, so hackers and others can’t discover the key and use it to monitor future sessions. NordVPN also has a kill switch to shut down activity if your VPN stops working and a no-log policy, which means it doesn’t gather information about your online activities. IPVanish also has a no-log policy, uses a kill switch method and operates with AES 256-bit encryption. However, it’s worth noting that IPVanish previously complied with government agency requests for data logs about user activity. The fact that the company provided that data demonstrates that, at some point, it kept it. IPVanish was acquired in 2017 — after this issue arose — by another company that has said it guarantees logging doesn’t take place now. It’s a good idea whenever you sign up for a VPN that has a no-log policy to read any future changes to privacy policies to ensure you’re still covered.

Server Coverage

IPVanish has servers located across the globe in more than 75 locations. Its servers, which number more than 1,500, are located in:

  • Europe, where more than 460 servers are spread over more than 20 countries
  • Asia, where more than 40 servers are spread across nine countries
  • North America, which has more than 800 servers across the United States, Canada and Mexico
  • Africa, which houses around 10 servers
  • South America, which boasts close to 40 servers in five countries
  • Oceania, where more than 80 servers are spread across Australia and New Zealand

NordVPN also operates through servers across the globe. It boasts more than 2,200 servers, which are located in:

  • The United States, where more than 1,700 servers are spread out across various states
  • The rest of North America, where more than 450 servers are spread out in Canada and Mexico
  • Central and South America, which boast more than 40 servers
  • Europe, where almost 2,000 servers are located in countries such as the U.K., Germany, France, the Netherlands and Denmark
  • Africa, the Middle East and India, which account for more than 100 servers
  • The Asia Pacific region, where more than 670 servers are located in Australia, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea and other nations

Performance

While speeds vary depending on the time you use a service and which server you connect to, NordVPN typically has extremely fast speeds relative to many competitors. It is important to ensure you choose a VPN with servers close to you, as the farther the data has to travel, the slower it will be. However, even when you’re using a server across the continent — or the entire world — generally NordVPN service is fast enough to support quality streaming and gaming. The service also offers unlimited bandwidth and data, making torrenting possible. You can connect with six devices at the same time, making it possible for everyone in the household to use the VPN. IPVanish also offers excellent speeds. Typically, when you connect to any VPN, you’ll have a slight reduction in speeds because your data is being rerouted. In many cases, the drop in speed across IPVanish servers is a relatively low 3-5 Mbps for download speeds. That’s fairly competitive among top VPN providers. IPVanish also supports torrenting depending on the server you use and what your internet speed is before you log on to the VPN. One area where IPVanish does outshine NordVPN is that you can connect with unlimited devices at the same time.

Price

The cost of either NordVPN or IPVanish depends on how long you want to commit to the service. If you decide that NordVPN is the right service for you, the best value is the 3-year plan, which comes out to just $3.49 a month. If you like IPVanish better or you don’t want to commit to more than a year at a time, IPVanish’s annual contract is the best value, as it comes out to just $6.49 a month.

Pricing Comparison
  NordVPN IPVanish
1 month, paid monthly $11.95 $11.99
3 months, paid quarterly n/a $8.99 per month, or $26.99 billed for the entire quarter
1 year, paid once annually $6.99 a month, or $83.88 billed for the entire year $6.49 a month, or $77.99 billed for the entire year.
2 years, paid once every two years $4.99 a month, or $119.76 billed for the entire two years n/a
3 years, paid once every three years $3.49 a month, or $125.64 billed for the entire three years n/a

Overview: NordVPN vs IPVanish

As you can see, NordVPN and IPVanish are both good choices for VPN service. But as with any type of service or technology product, the features that matter most to you may be different from those that matter to someone else. Check out the detailed comparison table for these two companies below for more information about what they offer.

NordVPN vs IPVanish Comparison Table

Comparison Table
  NordVPN IPVanish
Free Trial 30 days 30 days for iOS only
Customer Support 24/7 Live Chat Live Chat, Email, and phone
Platform/Browser Compatibility Chrome, Firefox Chrome
Server Coverage 5100+ servers in 59 countries 1500+ servers in 75 countries
Number of Devices 6 Unlimited devices
No-log Policy Yes Yes
Torrenting Yes Yes
Streaming Services Netflix, Hulu, the BBC, YouTube, Prime Video, Kodi, HBO, Disney, Showtime etc. YouTube, Netflix, Hulu
Security Encryption AES-256-GCM 256-bit AES
Kill Switch Yes Yes
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