ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: Which provider is best?

ExpressVPN vs IPVanish
(Image credit: Future)

On the search for the best VPN? You probably want to know who wins in ExpressVPN vs IPVanish. These two titans have been in the game for a long time now, and are two of the most well-respected and popular VPNs available.

So, here we're pitting them against each other, drilling down into exactly which one outperforms the other in a selection of the most important areas. We'll look at privacy, speed, content unblocking and more – and of course we'll also be looking at which one will be easier on the wallet.

We'll open up by looking at some specs on paper, then we'll follow them round by round, before finally crowning one the undisputed champion.

ExpressVPN vs IPVanish at a glance

ExpressVPN – our #1 rated VPN service claim three months free with any 12-month plan

<a href="" data-link-merchant=""" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">ExpressVPN – our #1 rated VPN service
Express VPN is simply the best service we've tested to date, and if we're honest it outstrips the vast majority of the competition in almost every area. If you've already made up your mind (we don't blame you) you can also claim three months free with any 12-month plan.

IPVanish – US-based contender is still a worthy rival

<a href="" data-link-merchant=""" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">IPVanish – US-based contender is still a worthy rival
While in a number of areas IPVanish can't quite keep up with Express, it's still one of the top VPNs on the market. If you're a fan of the techy aesthetic, have dozens of devices, or just want to save a dollar or two a month, it's well worth looking into.

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ExpressVPN vs IPVanish – specs on paper
Header Cell - Column 0 ExpressVPNIPVanish
Number of servers:3,000+1,500+
Server countries:9475
Maximum simultaneous connections:5Unlimited
Money back guarantee:30 days30 days
Lowest monthly cost:$6.67$5.20

ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: Which is more affordable?

Let's have a look at the numbers first.

As usual, shorter plans will be by far the most expensive. If you only want a month of ExpressVPN, you'll be shelling out $12.95 a month, and if you go for a six-month plan you'll see a minor discount that drops it to $9.99 a month. The longest plan – 12 months – is the cheapest by a significant margin, and is just $6.67 a month. 

You can save on your costs with ExpressVPN promo codes, and its also worth watching out for limited-time exclusive deals. For example, 12-month plans currently include three free months exclusive to Tom's Guide readers, which you can claim by following any of the links on this page.

IPVanish's shorter plans are remarkably good value, at just $8.00 a month on a rolling monthly contract. That'll appeal to those who don't like to be locked into 12 months or so of one provider.

Extend that to six months and you'll get a small discount down to $7.20 a month. Finally, for maximum bargain value, you'll want to sign up for a year for $5.20 a month. However, IPVanish has a fair bit of added value with its plans. You'll get unlimited simultaneous connections (compared to ExpressVPN's five), plus a free 250GB plan with cloud storage provider SugarSync. Not a bad free gift if we ever saw one. 

So, on all plans ExpressVPN is evidently the more premium-priced contender, and IPVanish offers a tempting bundle. But can it back that up with performance?

ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: Which is faster?

Both ExpressVPN and IPVanish performed excellently in our speed tests. For those tests, we used a 75MB UK line and our superfast 600MB US line.

In the UK, Express averaged around 69MB, which is pretty much ton of the pack out of all our tested VPNs. IPVanish had some mild trouble, but we're fairly sure this was down to the huge influx of work-from-homers in March 2020. Tested October for this article on a 110MB UK line, it delivered averages of around 105MB. In practice, there's really no noticeable difference.

Our superfast US line is the real test of a VPN's maxed-out speeds, though. Express delivered connections of around 200 to 250MB, while IPVanish topped out at 220MB.

Again, it's a close call. If we were to do it by the numbers, Express would pip IPVanish here, but in practice we won't lie – both are much the same, and both feature on our top US VPN guide.

ExpressVPN vs IPVanish

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: Which is more secure?

A core feature of any VPN, privacy and security are essential. 

ExpressVPN has a powerful foundation of AES-256 encryption, with Perfect Forward Secrecy, private DNS servers, and RAM-only servers (which means no data can be stored). You'll also get a kill switch and split tunneling as standard, alongside a wide range of protocols. Just about every feature you need is right there.

IPVanish uses the same encryption, claims to be no-logging, and also features a kill switch and split tunneling. The company also owns all of its own servers – rather than renting them – so no third parties are involved at any step of the way.

However, Express has undergone an independent security audit which yielded excellent results, and proved its no-logging claims. IPVanish has not done so, and on that point, we're handing this one to ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: Which is better for Netflix?

Both featuring on our Netflix VPN guide, ExpressVPN and IPVanish are excellent options when it comes to streaming.

We had no issues with either when accessing a variety of different Netflix locations, with full access to UK, US, Japan, Canada and plenty more besides. And, thanks to the fact speeds are much the same, the experience was indiscernible between them.

However, the one service that let IPVanish down was BBC iPlayer – unfortunately we just couldn't get it to work.

If you're just after a Netflix VPN, both providers here are great and your mind should be made up elsewhere in this head to head. However, if you're craving a better-rounded streaming VPN or some British TV, ExpressVPN has got IPVanish licked.

ExpressVPN vs IPVanish

(Image credit: IPVanish)

ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: Which is better for torrenting?

Both services are also excellent torrenting VPNs.

Both have full P2P support on all servers – something which providers like NordVPN and Surfshark can't boast – and this means if you need to torrent, the exact server you choose to connect to will support your activity. There's no auto-switching here.

If we had to pick between the two, it'd be Express again, purely thanks to its wider range of servers and server location. For those outside Europe and the US, especially Asia, Africa, and South America, ExpressVPN will deliver a better selection of servers that are closer to home, and will subsequently be faster.

ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: Which has better apps?

If you prefer clean, simple apps, then ExpressVPN is definitely the one to pick. On the surface you'll be treated to a polished interface that's ready for one-click use. However, this simplicity belies this VPN's true power.

Jump into settings and you'll be able to customize a ton of options, including the previously mentioned kill switch, split tunneling, and various protocols. 

IPVanish, on the other hand, wears its tech on its sleeve. It's by no means cluttered or difficult to use, but the app certainly reminds us of what we 'expect' a VPN to look like. Very Matrix-y. That said, the mobile apps do look modern and a little simpler – which is for the best.

However, while both cover a wide range of devices, Express's range is that little larger, and includes a dedicated router app, plus MediaStreamer apps for games consoles and Smart TVs.

Overall, ExpressVPN has better – and more – apps.

ExpressVPN vs IPVanish

(Image credit: Future)

ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: Which has better support?

Again, both Express and IPVanish have great support, but we think ExpressVPN's is just that bit better.

While both offer live chat 24/7 (which is super useful), IPVanish's knowledgebase of articles isn't perfect. Some simple guides waffle on for an awful long time when really we just want to get the point. And, as we'd expect, Express's do just that.

It's tight, but thanks to really clear guides (some available in languages other than English), ExpressVPN wins out here.

ExpressVPN vs IPVanish: Final verdict

When putting these two head to head, a bit of a trend appeared – IPVanish is great, but ExpressVPN will stop at nothing short of being the best. It's as simple as that. While IPVanish offers a seriously powerful service that's well-trusted and works excellently, ExpressVPN's product displays greater polish, functions that little bit more intuitively, and has the security credentials to match.

ExpressVPN is the best service on the market today15 months for the price of 12

With great speeds, an intuitive interface and seriously powerful privacy features, <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">ExpressVPN is the best service on the market today. Plus, Tom’s guide readers can claim three months free, which works out at 15 months for the price of 12, and you’ll also be covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can make sure you like the VPN before you commit.

price is very important

However, if <a href="" data-link-merchant=""" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">price is very important, or perhaps you'd rather just get a rolling one-month plan, IPVanish is still a solid option. Plus, with unlimited connections, you can cover every device in your household on the one plan. 

Mo Harber-Lamond
VPN Editor

Mo is VPN Editor at Tom's Guide. Day-to-day he oversees VPN, privacy, and cybersecurity content, and also undertakes independent testing of VPN services to ensure his recommendations are accurate and up to date. When he's not getting stuck into the nitty-gritty settings of a VPN you've never heard of, you'll find him working on his Peugeot 205 GTi or watching Peep Show instead of finally putting up those shelves.