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NordVPN vs IPVanish

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Callum Tennent oversees how we test and review VPN services. He's a member of the IAPP, and his VPN advice has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society.

Fact-checked by Simon Migliano

Our Verdict

Overall, NordVPN performs slightly better than IPVanish in the majority of testing categories. It’s a close race, but NordVPN is more secure, has better customer support, and offers greater value for money. NordVPN is also the superior VPN for streaming and bypassing censorship, but IPVanish is the better choice for torrenting.

NordVPN and IPVanish compared on iOS

In this side-by-side guide, we compare NordVPN and IPVanish based on their performance in 10 different testing categories. We’ll determine which VPN is better, and what for.

Since 2016, we’ve reviewed more than 65 VPN services using our unique VPN testing methodology. This process includes security analyses, in-depth speed testing, manual streaming tests, and much more.

In this article, we’ll use our test results to perform an in-depth comparison between NordVPN and IPVanish, so you can find out which VPN is right for you.

Quick Summary: NordVPN vs IPVanish

Here’s a summary of how NordVPN and IPVanish compare in ten VPN testing categories:

Category Winner
Speed & Reliability IPVanish

With the addition of the WireGuard protocol, IPVanish now records exceptional connection speeds. Although it’s close, IPVanish was 2% faster than NordVPN when connecting to international locations.

Streaming NordVPN

NordVPN gives you more options for streaming than IPVanish. It can access 17 global Netflix libraries and almost every streaming service, while IPVanish works with just 4.

Security & Technical Features NordVPN

Both VPNs use secure encryption and tunneling protocols. However, NordVPN’s advanced features put it marginally ahead in this category.

Privacy & Logging Policy IPVanish

IPVanish and NordVPN are both no-logs VPNS. That said, NordVPN claims to cooperate with law enforcement and its dedicated IP feature is a privacy risk.

Torrenting IPVanish

IPVanish is better than NordVPN for torrenting. It offers port-forwarding, a SOCKS5 proxy, and fast P2P download speeds.

Ease of Use NordVPN

In our experience testing, NordVPN’s apps for Android, iOS, PC, and MacOS were simpler and better-looking than IPVanish’s.

Server Locations NordVPN

NordVPN offers 60 server locations, compared to 53 locations with IPVanish.

Price & Value NordVPN

NordVPN is cheaper than IPVanish on a long-term subscription plan. It costs just $3.29 a month, and comes with a 30 day money-back guarantee.

Bypassing Web Censorship NordVPN

Despite offering obfuscation technology, neither VPN service works to unblock websites in China. However, NordVPN has at least worked in the past, whereas IPVanish has always failed to connect in our testing.

Customer Support NordVPN

NordVPN has built a chatbot that actually works. When that isn’t enough, its customer service representatives are fast and helpful.

For a visual comparison, view the chart below to compare NordVPN and IPVanish’s performance metrics.

Points closer to the edge indicate better VPN performance in that category.

Radar chart comparing NordVPN's and IPVanish's performance ratings

We Recommend Choosing NordVPN if You Need:

  • A VPN for streaming. NordVPN unblocks an impressive 17 global Netflix libraries, along with other services including BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney Plus.
  • Advanced features. NordVPN is one of the most fully-featured VPNs we’ve reviewed, with support for Double VPN, split tunneling, Smart DNS, and its own ad blocker.
  • An easy, intuitive app. All of NordVPN’s apps are well designed and intuitive to use.

Visit NordVPN or read our full NordVPN review.

We Recommend Choosing IPVanish if You Need:

  • A VPN for torrenting. IPVanish is one of the fastest VPNs for torrenting, it supports port-forwarding, and includes a SOCKS5 proxy.
  • A super-strict no-logs policy. Independently audited in April 2022, IPVanish is a certified zero logs VPN.
  • Fast speeds. IPVanish performed well in our latest speed tests, recording an average speed loss of just 5% on nearby connections.

Visit IPVanish VPN or read our full IPVanish review.

To compare more VPN services side-by-side, use our VPN comparison tool.

Speed

SUMMARY:

NordVPN and IPVanish are both fast VPNs, with an identical average download speed of 95Mbps on local connections. However, IPVanish is marginally faster across all locations we test. Its average international download speed is 2Mbps faster than NordVPN’s.

Winner: IPVanish

We regularly test the speeds of both NordVPN and IPVanish on local and international connections.

We use each VPN’s default tunneling protocol and measure how they affect our internet speeds when connected to multiple different server locations.

We measure:

  • Local upload & download speeds
  • International upload & download speeds
  • Ping (Latency)
  • Time to connect

Here’s a quick summary of how NordVPN and IPVanish compare when it comes to speed and reliability:

  NordVPN IPVanish
Speed & Reliability Rating 9.7 9.8
Local Download Speed 95Mbps 95Mbps
US-UK Download Speed 90Mbps 91Mbps
Local Upload Speed 94Mbps 94Mbps
Ping 8ms 7ms
Time to Connect 8.4 seconds 5.5 seconds
Fastest VPN Protocol WireGuard (NordLynx) WireGuard

NordVPN and IPVanish are fast on local connections

Both NordVPN and IPVanish are consistently fast when connecting to nearby servers, with almost identical results.

In our testing, NordVPN and IPVanish both suffered a local download speed loss of just 5%.

Both VPNs also recorded an average upload speed of 94Mbps when connecting to the same nearby server.

The only point of difference on local connections is IPVanish’s slightly better ping time of 7ms.

If you’re connecting to a server nearby, you won’t notice any impact on your internet speed from either VPN.

IPVanish is faster on long-distance connections

Long distance connections are where IPVanish starts to pull ahead of NordVPN.

When connecting from New York to South Africa, NordVPN decreased our download speed by 34%. In comparison, IPVanish is impressively fast, slowing our connection by just 17%.

You can compare our full long distance download speed test results below:

Server Location
NordVPN
IPVanish
UK
90Mbps
91Mbps
Germany
92Mbps
82Mbps
Brazil
83Mbps
94Mbps
Australia
84Mbps
86Mbps

IPVanish has lower ping for smoother gaming

In our latency tests, we found NordVPN added 8ms of ping, whereas IPVanish added 7ms. Although the difference is minimal, this means IPVanish will give you a slightly smoother connection for online gaming.

We tested NordVPN and IPVanish from our 100Mbps test connection while playing popular online games including CS:GO, Fortnite and Minecraft. Neither VPN was blocked and in both cases we didn’t notice any additional lag while playing.

There’s not much between them: we find both NordVPN and IPVanish work well for gaming, but these results suggest you may get a slightly smoother connection from IPVanish.

Both NordVPN and IPVanish work well for gaming

Both NordVPN and IPVanish ran smoothly while playing CS:GO and Fortnite.

Streaming

SUMMARY:

NordVPN is a much better streaming VPN than IPVanish. Both VPNs can unblock US Netflix and BBC iPlayer, but only NordVPN can access 17 Netflix libraries as well as other streaming services like HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video.

Winner: NordVPN

We’ve tested both IPVanish and NordVPN to see how well they unblock geo-restricted streaming services from overseas.

We test popular services including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and more.

Our assessment includes other streaming features, too, such as Smart DNS, a Fire TV app, and the number of international Netflix regions each VPN unblocks.

The most important factors for streaming are:

  • Buffer-free streaming on all platforms. Accessing streaming platforms isn’t enough — they need to be fast enough to stream in HD.
  • Access to basics like US Netflix & BBC iPlayer. We expect all streaming VPNs to meet this basic threshold.
  • International Netflix libraries especially the US, UK, Japan, Brazil and other popular libraries.
  • Other streaming services like Disney+, Amazon Prime Video etc. Only the best streaming VPNs can unlock these services.

Here’s a summary of our overall streaming performance results:

  NordVPN IPVanish
Streaming Rating 9.8 9.1
US Netflix Yes Yes
No. of Netflix Libraries 17 4
BBC iPlayer Yes Yes
HBO Max Yes No
Smart DNS Yes No

NordVPN unblocks Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and more

IPVanish unblocks BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and some Netflix libraries, but NordVPN is the clear winner in this category. NordVPN even works with stricter services like Amazon Prime Video and HBO Max.

IPVanish unblocks BBC iPlayer

IPVanish works with BBC iPlayer, but not stricter services like HBO Max.

Here’s a table comparing the streaming services that each VPN can unblock:

Streaming Service NordVPN IPVanish
Netflix Yes Yes
Disney+ Yes Yes
BBC iPlayer Yes Yes
Amazon Prime Video Yes No
HBO Max Yes No
Hulu Yes Yes

NordVPN unblocks every Netflix region we’ve tested

NordVPN also outshines IPVanish when it comes to unblocking global Netflix regions. It worked with every Netflix library we tested, whereas IPVanish only worked with three.

Here’s how both VPN services compare when it comes to Netflix regions:

Netflix Region NordVPN IPVanish
Australia Yes No
Brazil Yes No
France Yes No
Germany Yes No
India No Yes
Italy Yes No
Japan Yes No
Netherlands No No
South Korea No No
UK Yes Yes
US Yes Yes

If you want to access UK, US, or Indian Netflix then both NordVPN and IPVanish are good options. For other popular libraries though — such as Japan, South Korea, or Brazil — you will need to stick to NordVPN.

IPVanish isn’t as focused on streaming as other top VPN providers. NordVPN, by comparison, puts more resources into keeping its streaming functionality up to date.

Security & Technical Features

SUMMARY:

IPVanish and NordVPN are both secure services: they use AES-256 encryption, trusted tunneling protocols, and they include a working kill switch. However, NordVPN is marginally more secure thanks to its RAM-only server network, advanced kill switch, and doubly encrypted multi-hop servers.

Winner: NordVPN

Our tests confirm that both NordVPN and IPVanish are safe to use. Here’s a quick summary of their encryption and security performance:

NordVPN IPVanish
Encryption & Security Rating 9.9 9.6
VPN Protocols WireGuard & OpenVPN WireGuard, OpenVPN
Encryption Cipher AES-256 & ChaCha20 AES-256 & ChaCha20
Kill Switch Yes Yes
Leak Protection Yes Yes
RAM-based Servers Yes No
Open-source Apps No No
Owns Server Network Partially Yes

Both VPNs use secure tunneling protocols and encryption ciphers

By default, both NordVPN and IPVanish use a version of the WireGuard protocol for their VPN connections from all devices. WireGuard has been tested extensively, and is completely free and open-source — which means anyone can inspect the source-code.

IPVanish offers both the OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols as alternatives, while NordVPN only offers OpenVPN as an alternative (and not on every platform).

Screenshot of IPVanish's protocol settings on Windows

Unlike NordVPN, IPVanish always allows you to choose your preferred VPN protocol.

On OpenVPN connections, both services use AES-256 encryption, and on WireGuard connections both use ChaCha20 encryption.

These encryption ciphers are widely-used and tested, and have never been broken by brute force. There are currently no known vulnerabilities for either.

Both offer kill switches & effective leak protection

Both IPVanish and NordVPN have passed every leak test we’ve ever put them through. This means they don’t leak your IP, DNS, or WebRTC information.

They both have a kill switch, too. This is essential for VPN privacy and security. We tested it by deliberately cutting our VPN connection while running an IP checker tool, and both VPNs worked every time.

Comparison of leak tests between NordVPN and IPVanish

Both IPVanish and NordVPN passed all of our leak tests.

The two VPN services also own their own DNS servers, and default to using them — which means your ISP won’t see the websites you’re requesting.

NordVPN includes more advanced security features

When it comes to the very best VPN services, strong security is a bare minimum. Where a VPN can really set itself apart is in the additional features it offers. Here, NordVPN wins by a wide margin.

Along with its leak protection and kill switch, IPVanish includes two additional features: split-tunneling and a SOCKS5 proxy.

NordVPN includes all of these things, and much more. It offers obfuscated servers, double VPN, colocated servers, ad-blocking and TOR integration.

By comparison, IPVanish’s offering is quite simplistic. It includes all of the basics a VPN needs to have, but if you’re looking for advanced security features, NordVPN is more likely to have them.

Privacy & Logging Policy

SUMMARY:

NordVPN has a better jurisdiction than IPVanish, but IPVanish is better for privacy overall. Its strict no-logs policy has been confirmed in an independent audit, and it has not suffered any recent controversies.

Winner: IPVanish

Here’s a quick of NordVPN and IPVanish’s logging and privacy performance:

  NordVPN IPVanish
Privacy & Logging Policy Rating 8.8 8.8
Logging Policy No Identifying Data No Logs
Jurisdiction Panama US
Independently Verified Yes Yes
Independently Verified Yes Yes

Neither NordVPN or IPVanish log your activity data

Both IPVanish and NordVPN have very private logging policies. Neither of the VPNs log your:

  • Browsing activity
  • IP address
  • Connection timestamps

In addition, neither VPN collects any information about your usage that could be personally identifiable.

Screenshot of NordVPN's logging policy

An excerpt from NordVPN’s logging policy.

NordVPN has a more private jurisdiction

NordVPN is registered in Panama, which is considered a privacy haven. There are no laws that would force NordVPN to track your activity or hand over any user logs.

In comparison, IPVanish is registered in the US, which is one of the most hostile nations to individual privacy.

However, because IPVanish keeps no user logs, it would have nothing to hand over to a government or corporation if it was asked to. For this reason, we don’t think IPVanish’s jurisdiction should work against it.

IPVanish's logging policy in brief

IPVanish’s no-logs policy makes up for its US jurisdiction.

NordVPN’s dedicated IP feature is a privacy risk

You can purchase a dedicated VPN IP address from NordVPN for an additional $3.89 per month.

Sadly, this feature is a serious privacy issue as the dedicated IP address is directly linked to your NordVPN account.

As such, any browsing activity associated with your dedicated IP address can be traced back to you.

Although this isn’t a widely used feature, or part of the default VPN subscription, it’s still a disappointing oversight from NordVPN.

Both VPNs carry out independent audits

Both VPNs carry out regular external audits to validate their logging policies. IPVanish’s last audit was carried out by Leviathan Security Group in April 2022, while NordVPN’s last audit was carried out more recently by Deloitte at the end of 2023.

As of 18 January 2022, NordVPN updated its policy on requests from law enforcement. It now states that it will “comply with lawful requests as long as they are delivered according to all the laws and regulations”. This means, if compelled, NordVPN could log and share the activity of its users.

Though there is no evidence to suggest that NordVPN has shared any user data so far, it’s another reason that IPVanish wins by a thin margin in this category.

Torrenting

SUMMARY:

NordVPN is an excellent choice for torrenting, but IPVanish is fractionally better. Both VPNs have kill switches and private logging policies, but IPVanish is faster by 0.1MiB/s. Unlike NordVPN, it also supports port forwarding, which is useful for seeding torrents effectively.

Winner: IPVanish

Our torrenting tests measure for:

  • Fast P2P speeds using our bespoke P2P testing methodology.
  • A zero-logs policy to ensure private torrenting.
  • A good privacy track record with no history of forwarding DMCA requests.
  • SOCKS5 proxy, port forwarding & other additional features for fast seeding.

Here is a quick summary of how NordVPN and IPVanish compare when it comes to torrenting:

  NordVPN IPVanish
Torrenting Rating 9.0 9.2
Avg. Download Bitrate 9.8MiB/s 9.9MiB/s
No. of P2P Servers 4,771 2,200
Logging Policy No Identifying Data No Logs
Kill Switch Yes Yes
Port Forwarding No Yes

IPVanish is faster for torrenting than NordVPN

IPVanish is one of the fastest VPNs for torrenting we’ve tested. We measured an averafe download bitrate of 9.9MiB/s with IPVanish, and 9.8MiB/s with NordVPN.

These are both very fast, and certainly fast enough for consistently good P2P performance. That said, IPVanish is the faster service by a small margin.

Torrenting with NordVPN

NordVPN works well for torrenting, but it can’t keep up with IPVanish.

IPVanish allows P2P activity on every server

NordVPN has more dedicated P2P servers than IPVanish, but IPVanish allows P2P file-sharing in every one of its server locations. NordVPN, in comparison, blocks torrenting in 14 countries, including South Korea, Ukraine, and Thailand.

Put simply: IPVanish allows you to torrent in 50 different countries, while NordVPN only allows you to torrent in 45 countries.

Here’s the full list of countries where NordVPN does not permit torrenting:

  • Argentina
  • Costa Rica
  • Cyprus
  • Egypt
  • Georgia
  • Indonesia
  • Israel
  • Malaysia
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Ukraine
  • UAE
  • Vietnam

IPVanish includes a port forwarding option

Unlike many premium VPNs (including NordVPN), IPVanish includes support for port forwarding. This is a must-have feature for advanced torrenting users, and can also be helpful for gaming with a VPN.

Port forwarding is an advanced feature that allows you to manually choose which NAT firewall port your traffic is routed through. In most cases this will speed up P2P connections, especially when seeding.

Apps & Ease of Use

SUMMARY:

NordVPN and IPVanish both have user-friendly applications for a wide variety of devices. IPVanish supports more simultaneous connections, but NordVPN has one of the easiest and most intuitive user interfaces we’ve seen.

Winner: NordVPN

We test every VPN for usability and design on different devices. Premium VPN services should offer apps that are intuitive, easy to use, and pleasant to look at.

Here’s a quick summary of how NordVPN and IPVanish compare when it comes to device compatibility:

NordVPN IPVanish
Ease of Use Rating 9.5 9.0
Simultaneous Connections 6 Unlimited
Desktop Apps Windows, macOS, Linux Windows, macOS, Linux
Browser extensions Yes No
Mobile Apps Android, iOS Android, iOS
Streaming Devices Android TV, Fire TV Android TV, Fire TV
Smart DNS Yes No
Router App No No

NordVPN has better looking apps than IPVanish

We like NordVPN’s user interface a lot. It looks good, and it’s consistent across devices and platforms, which is great for usability. Most of all, it is super easy to use on every device.

By comparison, IPVanish’s interface can be intimidating and difficult to use at times. Most users will be able to find a new server or change their settings without any issues, but it could be easier.

That said, IPVanish’s apps are getting better with time. In fact, IPVanish’s latest application layout is clearly taking inspiration from NordVPN.

IPVanish supports unlimited simultaneous connections, which is better than NordVPN’s limit of six. Practically, this means you can get more out of your subscription. For most users, though, six will be plenty.

Windows & Mac

The design of NordVPN’s app is very consistent between Windows and Mac. Its settings menus are clear, easy to find, and intuitive to use. The server map takes up most of the screen, which looks nice, but it’s not particularly functional.

By comparison, IPVanish has a less consistent design between platforms. The PC app is attractive and user-friendly, but on Mac it’s a different story. We’ve found the Mac application clunky to use: it opens as a windowed app, but the settings are separated into a menu bar app.

This can be very frustrating, and is not at all intuitive.

Comparison between NordVPN and IPVanish's Windows app.

NordVPN and IPVanish use a similar map view for their Windows apps.

Android & iOS

IPVanish really shines on Android. It’s intuitively laid out, with more settings available than on any other platform.

The app launches onto a connection page, which allows for one-click connection. All settings and location options can be accessed from tabs at the bottom of the screen. This works well, and we were able to access everything we needed with just a few taps.

The iOS app is also intuitive, with the same basic layout as Android. It has far fewer advanced options than available on Android, though. There’s split tunneling or LAN exemption available.

Overall this makes iOS the worst of IPVanish’s applications.

Comparison between NordVPN and IPVanish's iOS app

NordVPN and IPVanish’s iOS apps are easy to navigate.

The situation with NordVPN couldn’t be more different: it has a very good iOS app, but a mediocre offering on Android.

Similar to IPVanish, its iOS app makes everything easy to find in one or two taps, and you can connect straight from the launch screen.

We aren’t as impressed by NordVPN’s Android app. There are lots of menus and settings, which can make it more difficult to find and change important settings.

FireTV & AndroidTV

Both IPVanish and NordVPN have applications for FireTV and AndroidTV.

NordVPN’s smart TV apps are some of the most feature-complete we’ve seen, including split tunneling, a variety of protocols, and a kill switch. The app unblocks fewer Netflix libraries than the PC or mobile apps, though, which is frustrating.

There is also an option to connect to P2P-optimized servers from the app, making it a good choice if you want to set up Kodi on your Fire TV Stick.

Visually the app is a bit utilitarian, but it’s easy enough to use.

Comparison between NordVPN and IPVanish Fire TV App

IPVanish’s FireTV app includes more features than NordVPN’s.

IPVanish’s FireTV and AndroidTV apps have even more features than NordVPN’s. They include auto-startup, auto-reconnect, LAN exemption and split tunneling features. There’s a choice between OpenVPN and Wireguard protocols, too.

We’re especially keen on the app design, which balances aesthetics with advanced functionality. There’s no kill switch though, which is disappointing for an otherwise great app.

Browser Extensions & Router Support

Unlike IPVanish, NordVPN offers browser extensions for Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Firefox. The add-ons are just proxies, not full VPNs. They only route your browser traffic, and it’s encrypted using TLS rather than AES or a similar cipher.

We don’t recommend using the browser add-ons for security, but they can be useful for location spoofing.

NordVPN's browser extension for Chrome

Both NordVPN and IPVanish have some router support, but IPVanish is much more comprehensive in this regard. IPVanish is compatible with the following DD-WRT enabled routers:

  • Asus
  • Belkin
  • Buffalo
  • D-Link
  • Linksys (Cisco)

You can also buy a pre-flashed IPVanish router, if the setup process is too technical for you. This is an expensive option, but the FlashRouter privacy app is great for managing multiple devices in your home.

NordVPN can’t be manually installed on as many routers as IPVanish, but it also has the option to be purchased pre-flashed on a router of your choice.

Server Locations

SUMMARY:

NordVPN has one of the largest VPN server networks we’ve tested, and easily exceeds IPVanish’s. Both VPNs have good server networks though, with at least 50 countries available on both.

Winner: NordVPN

A large server network means more options and faster connections. When testing for this category, we check:

  • The total number of servers and IP addresses available
  • The number and distribution of server locations available
  • City-level server locations
  • Whether servers are virtual or physical

Here’s a summary how NordVPN and IPVanish compare when it comes to their server networks:

NordVPN IPVanish
Server Locations Rating 9.6 8.9
Countries 60 53
Countries with City-Level Choice 6 6
Servers 5,613 2,000

NordVPN has VPN servers in more countries than IPVanish

You can connect to NordVPN servers in 60 countries, compared to just 53 for IPVanish.

NordVPN server locations

NordVPN’s server select screen is missing some key information, like latency.

Both VPNs use an entirely physical server network, which means if you select a server location nearby, you should always expect to get good speeds.

Here’s a break-down of the number of server locations each VPN offers in every continent:

Continent NordVPN IPVanish
Europe 37 31
Asia 12 10
South America 4 5
North America 3 4
Africa 1 1
Oceania 2 2

IPVanish and NordVPN are more or less equal when it comes to server countries. Both offer excellent coverage of Europe and North America, and good coverage of Asia and Oceania.

IPVanish's server select screen

IPVanish lets you know ping and server load percentages from the server select screen.

Where both VPNs fall short is their coverage of the Global South. For example, both services only support a single server location to Africa.

Price & Value

SUMMARY:

NordVPN and IPVanish are similarly priced across all subscription lengths. Although NordVPN is initially cheaper than IPVanish on its two-year plan, it renews at a much higher price. Plus, IPVanish has a free trial on iOS and Android, while NordVPN is restricted to just Android. Despite all this, NordVPN offers greater value due to being a better product than IPVanish overall.

Winner: NordVPN

We assess VPNs for the value they offer. This isn’t just a question of how cheap a VPN is, but how appropriate the price is for the service it offers. We check the following:

  • The price of a monthly subscription.
  • The cheapest long term subscription deal.
  • Money back guarantees and free trials.
  • Payment options.

Here is a summary of NordVPN and PIA’s key pricing data:

NordVPN IPVanish
Price & Value Rating 8.5 8.0
Monthly Subscription $11.99/ month $11.99/ month
Cheapest Subscription $3.29/mo over 2 years $3.25/mo over 2 years
Credit Card Yes Yes
Cryptocurrency Yes No
PayPal No Yes
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days 30 days
Free Trial 7 days (Android) 7 days (iOS & Android)

NordVPN costs just $3.29 a month on a two-year subscription, which makes it the cheaper option for a long-term commitment. However, NordVPN renews at $99.48 which is substantially higher than IPVanish’s renewal price of $89.99.

Although, we’d still suggest using NordVPN beyond its two-year plan as the quality of the product is superior to IPVanish in almost every department.

Both IPVanish and NordVPN offer 30 day money-back guarantees, although they require payment information before signing up. This means you can try the service out and cancel if it isn’t to your liking.

They also both offer limited free trials. NordVPN has a free trial on Android, and IPVanish has one on iOS and Android. These are a nice addition, but you may find the money-back guarantee a more flexible way to try the service across different platforms.

NordVPN supports more payment options than IPVanish. You can pay with Bitcoin, AliPay and most debit or credit cards. Unfortunately it no longer supports PayPal.

IPVanish does let you pay with PayPal, as well as with major credit and debit cards. It won’t let you use Bitcoin or other online services, though.

Bypassing Web Censorship

SUMMARY:

NordVPN is the better VPN for bypassing censorship. Currently, neither NordVPN nor IPVanish work in China, but they both include some obfuscation technology. If you’re looking for a VPN specifically to bypass censorship, you may want to look into alternatives.

Winner: NordVPN

We test VPNs for China weekly via a remote-access server that’s physically located in Shanghai. We use our Shanghai server to check:

  • How often VPNs can connect from China.
  • If they can access blocked websites and apps from China.

If a VPN works to unblock websites in China, it can typically be relied upon to bypass blocks in other high-censorship countries, too.

Here is a summary of how NordVPN and IPVanish compare for bypassing censorship:

NordVPN IPVanish
Bypassing Censorship Rating 6.7 6.0
Reliability in China (last 3 months) 0% 0%
Reliability in China (last 12 months) 5% 0%
Obfuscation Technology Proprietary obfuscated servers Scramble OpenVPN protocol available

NordVPN is marginally better for bypassing censorship in China

Although NordVPN doesn’t currently work in China, with a success rate of just 5% in the past year, it’s still more reliable than IPVanish.

In 8 years of testing, IPVanish has never been able to bypass Chinese censorship.

Alternatively, you could used one of the very best VPNs for China which work the majority of the time.

In the video below, we demonstrate how NordVPN can be used in China when it’s working:

Bypassing the Great Firewall of China with NordVPN.

Both VPNs include obfuscation technology

NordVPN uses proprietary obfuscation technology to get around censorship. Previously, this was an effective tool for bypassing Chinese censorship but NordVPN has failed to get past the Great Firewall since March 2022.

IPVanish offers its obfuscation setting, OpenVPN Scramble, on all platforms. It works by wrapping VPN traffic in a layer of HTTPS to make it resemble normal traffic.

While neither NordVPN or IPVanish currently work in China, both may work in other censored regions with less advanced firewalls, like Turkey or Russia.

Customer Support

SUMMARY:

Both IPVanish and NordVPN offer excellent 24/7 customer support via email and live chat. NordVPN is excellent here, though: its chatbot is the most helpful we’ve tested, and its human customer support agents are quick and well-informed. IPVanish, by comparison, has a much slower support experience.

Winner: NordVPN

We test the following aspects of customer service:

  • Support options. We like to see a variety of options for support, especially 24/7 live chat and email.
  • Quick responses. We test a VPN’s customer service to ensure help arrives quickly.
  • Online guides & forums. Good VPNs have extensive, accessible online guides or forums to help you troubleshoot small issues.

Here’s a summary of our customer support test results for IPVanish and NordVPN:

NordVPN IPVanish
24/7 Live Chat Support Yes Yes
Automated Chatbot Yes Yes
Email Support Yes Yes
Phone Support No Yes
Online Resources Yes Yes
Forum No No

IPVanish offers more support options

Both IPVanish and NordVPN offer all the customer support basics you should expect: live chat, email support, and online guides.

Unlike NordVPN, which only offers these core options, IPVanish also maintains a telephone support service. This is an unusual but helpful alternative for people that need a more immediate option than email support.

NordVPN solved our customer support queries faster

We tested both NordVPN and IPVanish to see which VPN’s customer support gave us good advice the fastest.

We asked both providers the same set of questions during normal work hours to see which would perform better.

Here’s how NordVPN performed:

Question Response Time Question Answered
What type of encryption does NordVPN use? Instant Yes
What Netflix libraries does NordVPN unblock? Instant Yes
What’s the fastest NordVPN protocol? 95 seconds Yes

Here’s how IPVanish performed:

Question Response Time Question Answered
What type of encryption does IPVanish use? 5 minutes Yes
What Netflix libraries does IPVanish unblock? 3 minutes Yes
What’s the fastest IPVanish protocol? 4 minutes Yes

Overall, NordVPN’s customer support was consistently much quicker than IPVanish. We found IPVanish’s chatbot would often start by linking to guides, which generally didn’t contain relevant information.

When we got through to a human, we found it took a few minutes for them to actually answer our question. IPVanish’s customer service staff were helpful and polite, but NordVPN’s were much more direct and informative.

IPVanish's chatbot

IPVanish’s chatbot often linked to irrelevant online guides.

NordVPN’s chatbot is so good, we only had to talk to its live chat support team once. When we did, they were quick and helpful.

Overall Winner: NordVPN

Both NordVPN and IPVanish are very good VPNs — some of the best available. They are both super fast, affordable, and safe to use.

That said, NordVPN is the clear winner overall: it beats IPVanish in almost every category.

IPVanish does perform better than NordVPN in some areas. It’s great for torrenting, records slightly faster download speeds, and it has far more city-level server options than NordVPN.

NordVPN is the better VPN for streaming by quite a distance. It can unblock a remarkable number of Netflix regions, plus most other streaming services. It is more secure than IPVanish overall, easier to use, and offers better customer support.