IPVanish vs NordVPN in 2021: Which should you choose?
Last updated: September 20, 2021
IPVanish and NordVPN are two top-rated VPN services, but how can you pick between them? They both provide similar functions on the surface, so it might be a difficult choice to make on your own. However, there are some differences you should be aware of.
Adding to this difficulty is their jargon-heavy websites, featuring terminology not familiar to many people. Figuring out their different features is important but challenging.
In this article, we’re going to break down those differences, highlight the pros and cons of each, and ultimately help you choose the best VPN for you.
Privacy: Do IPVanish and NordVPN have no-logs policies?
Six out of 10 Americans think it’s impossible to go through life without having their data collected. This is understandable, as large corporations like Facebook and Google are constantly tracking your online activity for marketing purposes.
With online privacy top-of-mind for many, VPNs have grown in popularity as the most effective and easiest way to protect ourselves online. Using a VPN masks your IP address, hiding your real location from the world.
Most VPNs also have a no-logs policy. The exact definition differs depending on the VPN, but put simply, it means that the VPN won’t record any data related to your online activity. They don’t store your traffic data, activity data, bandwidth usage, or IP address. If someone comes to collect, there’s no data to be found.
Let’s look at how IPVanish and NordVPN’s privacy policies compare.
IPVanish is a zero-logs VPN, meaning it doesn’t collect or store any data related to its VPN service. The VPN provider ensures users that it doesn’t sell or rent any personal information and that once you’re connected, you’re completely anonymous.
However, it does collect your email address and a payment method when you subscribe. This information cannot be connected to your VPN usage, but it’s something you’re required to share.
For added security, you could pay with a prepaid credit card or gift card.
Like IPVanish, NordVPN is also a zero-logs VPN service. It doesn’t store anything, including timestamps and session information, which some VPNs record. This provider emphasizes privacy and security, which is why it’s one of the top VPNs in the world.
There are two things that make NordVPN more secure than other options.
For starters, it accepts cryptocurrency like Bitcoin as a payment option, meaning you never have to put in your credit card number if you don’t want to.
Secondly, NordVPN is not based in U.S. or EU jurisdictions.
Why is this important?
Both the U.S. and EU have laws in place mandating the collection of data. If a VPN service is based in these locations, they have to collect some data and store it.
Security: Do IPVanish and NordVPN keep your connection secure?
When we look at security, we want to examine a VPN’s protocols and encryption.
IPVanish offers a couple of different protocols. Two you’ll want to use are IKEv2 and OpenVPN.
IKEv2 is an upgraded IPSec protocol that’s ideal for mobile devices. It’s fast and secure, plus it stays connected when you switch between wi-fi and your cellular network, so you’re always protected.
OpenVPN is the industry-standard open-source protocol that balances encryption and speed.
All of IPVanish’s protocols use AES-256-bit encryption. It’s an encryption method used by governments and military organizations to secure data.
The 256 refers to the length of the secret key created for each connection. Because it’s so complex, it would take millions of years for the world’s fastest supercomputer to bypass.
NordVPN defaults to AES-256-bit encryption as well, and it supports both OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols. But where it outshines competitors is with its proprietary NordLynx option, built around the WireGuard protocol.
NordLynx is the default connection in most NordVPN apps, and for good reason. Because it only runs on 4,000 lines of code (compared to OpenVPN’s 400,000 lines of code), it’s extremely fast and more secure than other protocols. It’s also really easy to deploy.
DNS leak protection
When you visit a website, your browser sends a request to your ISP’s DNS server to find the correct IP address. It’s then returned to your browser, which uses that information to connect to the website in question. Through this process, your private information is out there for the world to see.
But when you use a VPN, your browser sends the DNS request through the VPN tunnel to VPN servers. This keeps your IP address and traffic history secure.
When a DNS leak occurs, your DNS queries fail to go through the VPN’s secure tunnel and are routed through your ISP. If this happens, you might as well not have a VPN.
Fortunately, both NordVPN and IPVanish are quite secure and don’t suffer from DNS leaks.
We tested both VPNs using a DNS leak test, and both passed with flying colors. Both IPVanish and NordVPN kept us secure through a round of queries.
In our test, we connected to a French VPN server. Over six query rounds, we were protected the entire time. NordVPN and IPVanish both successfully masked our IP address, so, to anyone watching, we were in France.
Streaming: Can I bypass geoblocks with IPVanish and NordVPN?
Netflix gained 15.77 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2020. That monumental growth is due to the increasing popularity of streaming services coupled with stay-at-home orders instituted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s also millions of subscribers who may use a VPN to unblock geo-restricted content.
Streaming services like Netflix have different libraries depending on your access point, AKA the country that you’re in while using the platform. YouTube restricts certain videos to users in target countries as well, while services like BBC iPlayer and HBO Max only work in their respective countries.
One of the most common reasons people subscribe to a VPN is to watch streaming services without meddlesome geo-restrictions. Some people want to unblock content from their own country when traveling. Others want to watch international content like BBC iPlayer from their homes in the U.S.
While a VPN should be able to bypass geoblocks, some are better at it than others. Streaming services don’t want people accessing their content using VPNs and put measures in place to combat it.
So the question becomes, can NordVPN and IPVanish unblock streaming services? Let’s take a look.
Do IPVanish and NordVPN unblock streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer?
In our test, IPVanish was able to access U.S. and Canadian Netflix. It also unblocked HBO Max. However, none of the European servers we tried could bypass the geoblock on BBC iPlayer and other European content.
Fortunately, NordVPN could unblock just about everything we threw at it. It unblocked Netflix and HBO Max but also took down geo-restrictions on BBC iPlayer and restricted YouTube videos.
This is all thanks to NordVPN’s SmartPlay technology. It automatically takes care of unblocking any streaming service you could dream of.
Using its VPN and Smart DNS technology, the service spoofs your location and secures you from DNS leaks. Plus, there’s no configuration required — simply connect and enjoy.
Speed test: Which is faster, IPVanish or NordVPN?
You probably want to know which VPN is faster. Is it IPVanish, or is NordVPN the faster of the two? Let’s take a look.
IPVanish offers reliable service, with only a 20% reduction in download and upload speed while connected.
We tested it with a 100 Mbps download speed, and speeds hovered around 80 Mbps when connected to the VPN. Depending on the location of the server, ping fluctuated between 40 and 340 ms.
The Asian servers we tested gave us a high ping and the slowest speeds of the bunch.
Overall, speeds were dependable. If you’ll be using servers in North America or Europe, IPVanish is a respectable choice.
We expected a lot from NordVPN, as it’s a premium VPN on the higher end of the price spectrum.
It has 5,000+ servers, and every one that we tested exceeded our expectations.
In our test, our baseline was 64.4 Mbps down and 25 Mbps up, with a ping of 14.6. When we connected to a U.S. server using NordVPN, our download speed was 48.5 Mbps, and upload was 17.7 Mbps with a 24 ping.
Speeds using European servers performed similarly. Asian servers took a while to connect, but the connection was strong once it went through.
Overall, NordVPN performed just as well as IPVanish when testing North American servers. It outperformed IPVanish when testing the Asian servers.
Connections: How many simultaneous connections do I get with IPVanish and NordVPN?
If you’re a superuser or have a large family, how many simultaneous connections you get may be the deciding factor between VPN services.
IPVanish simultaneous connections
When it comes to simultaneous connections, IPVanish has an industry-leading unmetered connection. You can connect an unlimited number of devices at any given time under one subscription.
NordVPN simultaneous connections
NordVPN supports up to six simultaneous device connections. However, connecting to the same server on multiple devices requires you to use different protocols.
Features: Comparing IPVanish and NordVPN features
We’ve gone over security, privacy, and speed. When you consider features, which one comes out on top, IPVanish or NordVPN? Let’s take a brief look.
In this features table below, we have provided a snapshot as to how they compare for the most important features.
Speed Test Results (Download)
24/7 live chat & phone support
24/7 live chat support
No Log Policy (Private Surfing)
✓ (Android and Windows)
Unblock Amazon Prime
Unblock BBC iPlayer
X (Unreliable, sometimes works)
Lowest monthly cost
$2.62 per month (With a two-year plan)
$4.13 per month (With a two-year plan)
NordVPN is the better option in many areas, so we gave it a better overall rating.
For streaming geo-restricted content, NordVPN comes out on top every time. It can unblock all streaming services, some of which IPVanish falls short on. This includes BBC iPlayer and European content in general.
They both prioritize security with their no-logs policies, automatic kill switches, and split tunnel features. However, IPVanish does so at a cheaper price point.
Plans and pricing: Which is more affordable?
Let’s take a look at the price points for both IPVanish and NordVPN in more detail.
IPVanish has annual and monthly options. With its monthly plan, you get your first month for $3.49, but it renews at $9.99 per month.
The annual plan is very affordable, at least for the first year, coming in at $2.62 per month (or $31.49 for the first year). It renews at $89.99 per year, which is pretty expensive in the long run.
NordVPN values long-term customers, with two-year and one-year plans available. You can get two whole years of NordVPN for just $4.13 per month, or $99.
It gets more expensive the shorter your term, with monthly plans costing $11.95 per month.
However, NordVPN is a premium VPN with some of the best speeds, security, and customer support on the market. While it is the more expensive option, the price point is reasonable, especially with the two-year discount.
Something we value is good customer service, especially when it comes to VPN services. It can be tricky to wrap your head around how it works as a beginner, and a good customer support team is invaluable in that process.
IPVanish offers support in a couple of ways, including 24/7 live chat, email, phone, and through its support center.
We tested the live chat and were impressed with the speed at which we connected. It took around one minute to connect to a live agent, who was then able to help with some simple questions we had regarding the service.
NordVPN also offers 24/7 live chat support, which we found to be more responsive and helpful than IPVanish. We told them we were beginners without a lot of VPN knowledge to see what would happen, and they went above and beyond in helping us configure the VPN.
There’s also a comprehensive help center, which we found more useful than IPVanish in terms of getting set up and explaining how features work.
Alternatives to IPVanish and NordVPN
NordVPN and IPVanish are both excellent VPNs, but there are other great options we have to mention. These VPNs may have features that better fit what you’re looking for.
Our number one choice time and again is ExpressVPN. It has some of the best features and can unblock just about anything you want to watch. It’s also incredibly easy to set up, making it ideal for beginners.
What’s really unique about ExpressVPN is its MediaStreamer function. This allows you to use the VPN and stream on devices that aren’t supported by regular VPNs, like your Samsung Smart TV.
For a deeper look at ExpressVPN and all it has to offer, check out our ExpressVPN review.
SurfShark is even more affordable than IPVanish at $2.49 per month with a two-year subscription. It also offers unlimited simultaneous device connections. You can try it out for free with its trial available on Mac, iOS, and Android devices.
One standout feature of SurfShark is CleanWeb. It’s an ad and malware blocker built right into the VPN.
Both IPVanish and NordVPN are great options, although they have different strong points.
NordVPN is more secure and privacy-focused service, with additional security protocols and encryption methods to choose from.
In our tests, IPVanish had speeds comparable to NordVPN, except when you connected to servers in Asia. But if you’re sticking to North America, you can’t go wrong with either.
However, IPVanish was unable to bypass geoblocks on BBC iPlayer and other European streaming services. So, if streaming is your top priority, pick NordVPN.
IPVanish is cheaper overall. If you’re looking for a VPN to connect to North American servers, it’s a great choice.
But NordVPN is a premium VPN service. While it comes at a higher price point, it’s the more comprehensive VPN with more features and more robust customizations. And if you want to stream, it’s the right choice.
To see more in-depth reviews of these and other top-notch VPN services, you can visit our VPN reviews page.