TLDR: Though both VPNs ranked with impressive scores for download speed and features, NordVPN beats IPVanish with its pricing options, higher number of servers and WireGuard technology. However, IPVanish’s unlimited simultaneous connections will likely work best for families.

If you browse the internet without a virtual private network (VPN), you leave your personal data vulnerable to hackers and other users on public Wi-Fi or other unfamiliar networks. A VPN connection encrypts the information flowing between your device and the internet. And because it obscures your IP address, a VPN is also a secure tunnel to content only available in other countries. This makes a VPN handy when you want to unblock sports, Hulu, Amazon Prime or Netflix versions not available at home.

IPVanish and NordVPN are two popular providers with these capabilities and more. To help you decide which one is right for you, IPVanish versus NordVPN, we looked at each provider’s security offerings, features and functionality, pricing, and customer service to source our top picks in each category. You can also see how IPVanish and NordVPN scored in our best VPN review rankings of 2021.

IPVanish vs NordVPN: At a Glance

Privacy and Security

Features and
Functionality

Pricing

Reputation

IPVanish

AES-256-bit encryption, kill switch and
DNS leak protection

1,600 servers in 75 locations, unlimited simultaneous
connections and no logging

Plans start at $10.99/month

4.7 stars on TrustPilot from ~7,000 reviews

NordVPN

AES-256 bit encryption,
kill switch, DNS leak protection and
Onion over VPN

5,000 servers in 59 countries,
six simultaneous connections
and no logging

Plans start at $11.95/month

4 stars on TrustPilot from ~6,000 reviews

Our Pick

NordVPN

Tie

NordVPN

IPVanish

3.7/5
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4.5/5
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In This Review:

    IPVanish vs. NordVPN: Privacy and Security

    NordVPN and IPVanish share a number of unique security features, including Advanced Encryption Stand (AES)-256. Both VPN services also include automatic kill switches that disconnect you from the internet if your VPN is interrupted. However, in our tests, IPVanish’s automatic kill switch failed to work with macOS even though the company says it’s supported on macOS, Android and Windows. Both services also feature DNS leak protection and no logs policies.

    NordVPN stands out by leveraging CyberSec to block ads and malware, as well as the addition of Onion over VPN, which sends your data to The onion router (Tor) browser without the need to separately download the browser.

    You can still download Tor and access through IPVanish, but it may not offer the convenience of NordVPN’s Onion over VPN feature. IPVanish doesn’t offer ad blocking services, which are common among most other VPN service providers. It does provide ransomware protection if you’re willing to upgrade from the basic VPN subscription to a VPN + Backup plan. See more about pricing below.

    Winner: NordVPN

    Though IPVanish offers basic security protections included with most VPNs, you’ll likely want to choose NordVPN if high-level security features are important to you. While both companies say they don’t log your activity, we like that NordVPN is based in Panama, which lacks data retention laws. IPVanish is a U.S.-based company where providers are required to keep certain information.

    IPVanish vs. NordVPN: Features and Functionality

    NordVPN and IPVanish share many of the same functions that make them easy to access for a wide number of uses. They share the ability to:

    • Stream: Watch sports, movies and more on streaming services across both VPN providers. IPVanish has dedicated apps for Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, Android, Android TV and FireTV, as well as a browser extension for Chrome. In our speed tests, we did have trouble with streaming consistency and bandwidth. We weren’t able to access a few items, such as BBC iPlayer. NordVPN has dedicated apps for Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, Android, Android TV and Amazon Fire TV, plus extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
    • Torrent: Peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing, or torrenting, is also available with NordVPN and IPVanish.

    Where NordVPN Stands Out

    NordVPN employs three of the world’s most popular VPN protocols:

    • NordLynx: This is NordVPN’s proprietary VPN protocol built around the popular WireGuard technology.
    • OpenVPN: OpenVPN runs on either a User Datagram Protocol (UDP) or Transmission Control Protocol (TCP).

    IKEv2/IPSec: Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2) is part of the Internet Protocol Secure (IPSec) suite that, together, form a single VPN protocol.

    IPVanish offers OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec alongside Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) and Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP). In the future, we’d love to see IPVanish focus on providing WireGuard support in lieu of less secure protocols like PPTP.

    Where IPVanish Stands Out

    It may lack WireGuard, but IPVanish has a big leg up when it comes to its number of supported devices. You can only connect a maximum of six devices through a NordVPN connection, but you can connect an unlimited number of devices through a single IPVanish account. This may be a major benefit if you have a large family sharing a single account.

    Winner: Tie

    When it comes to functionality and features, the decision comes down to how you want to use your VPN. For example, NordVPN is a good fit for small businesses. It offers business accounts through NordLayer, formerly known as NordVPN Teams. If you’re more interested in an unlimited number of connections for your family, IPVanish is hard to beat.

    3.7/5
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    4.5/5
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    IPVanish vs. NordVPN: Pricing and Value

    IPVanish offers lower month plan cost and annual plan cost for its basic VPN services, but NordVPN offers more subscription choices. If you’re willing to sign up for a two-year plan, NordVPN costs are less — the equivalent of $3.67 a month for two years versus $3.75 a month for the first year and $7.50 after that at IPVanish.

    IPVanish vs. NordVPN: Subscription Plans

    One-month

    One-year

    Two-year

    IPVanish

    $10.99

    $44.99 for first year,
    then $89.99 annually

    X

    NordVPN

    $11.95

    $59 for first year,
    then $143.40 annually

    $99 for first two years,
    then $143.40 annually after that

    Pricing is accurate as of Sept. 10, 2021.

    Where IPVanish Stands Out

    IPVanish offers secure cloud storage when you upgrade to a VPN + Backup subscription. For a dollar more each month, you can upload photos, documents and other files, and you can sync them across devices.

    Where NordVPN Stands Out

    In addition to storage, NordVPN offers a password manager. Bundling more than one service is convenient, but you’ll sign up for the premium versions of NordLocker and/or NordPass password managers.

    Here’s a closer look at add-ons available from both companies.

    IPVanish vs. NordVPN Bundles

    Storage

    Password
    Manager

    Storage +
    Password Manager

    IPVanish

    VPN + Backup for
    $12.99/month
    or $54.99 for first year

    X

    X

    NordVPN

    NordVPN + NordLocker
    Premium for $16.94/month
    or $76.88 for first year

    NordVPN +NordPass
    Premium for $16.94/month
    or $82.88 for first year

    $21.93/month
    or $100.76 for first year

    Pricing is accurate as of Sept. 10, 2021.

    Neither NordVPN or IPVanish offer free versions or trial periods. NordVPN’s 30-day money back guarantee is what the company refers to as its free trial. IPVanish offers the same guarantee.

    Both services accept payment in the form of credit card and PayPal, but NordVPN offers also offers payment types like iTunes, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, Sofort and even select cryptocurrencies. You can also buy a subscription at retail stores, such as Best Buy and Target.

    Winner: NordVPN

    You’ll save money by choosing NordVPN’s two-year subscription plan. NordVPN also offers a wider selection of extras, expanded payment options and more straightforward pricing, which we appreciate. Keep in mind there are services other than NordVPN or IPVanish that have cheaper VPN costs, especially if you’re looking for a bare-bones provider or month-to-month service.

    IPVanish vs. NordVPN: Reputation and Credibility

    Both companies have positive reviews on TrustPilot. IPVanish, however, leads with more than 7,000 reviews and an average 4.7 stars. Plus, 82% of reviewers gave IPVanish “excellent” marks. NordVPN has nearly 6,000 reviews and an average 4.1 stars. NordVPN received “excellent” ratings from 70% of reviewers.

    In 2019, NordVPN disclosed a data breach that happened a year earlier at a third-party data center in Finland. No user credentials were affected, the company said, and it partnered with a cybersecurity firm, VerSprite, to test its infrastructure for weak points.

    Overall Customer Experience

    Both NordVPN and IPVanish offer 24/7 customer support and a live chat feature, as long as you’re willing to provide an email address. You could also reach IPVanish by phone, which isn’t available for NordVPN.

    Winner: IPVanish

    With significantly more IPVanish reviews than NordVPN and a higher average score, customers clearly prefer IPVanish. We also think the phone support is a nice bonus.

    IPVanish vs. NordVPN: Which Is Better?

    Both companies are solid VPN services with top connection speeds, secure protocols and a nice range of features. NordVPN, however, emerged as our ultimate winner and one of the best VPN choices today. It offers more VPN servers, WireGuard technology and an array of features you won’t find with IPVanish. It’s also a better value than IPVanish costs due to a wider selection of pricing options.

    That said, families looking to support a household of devices may appreciate the unlimited simultaneous connections of IPVanish. Everyone uses a VPN for a unique reason, which is why the best VPN service for your needs may vary depending on the functionality offered by each choice.

    3.7/5
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    4.5/5
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    Our VPN Testing Methodology

    The Gizmodo Advisor editorial team personally tests virtual private networks to help our readers make the best VPN choice for themselves. Our reviews aren’t influenced by any commission Gizmodo Advisor may receive from any VPN purchases. We strive for unbiased, third-party reviews, which are scored through our VPN rubric below.

    Factor

    Score

    Description

    Privacy and Stability

    30%

    Nothing is more important in a virtual private network than your privacy and security. What encryption does the VPN use? How many servers does it provide? How does it perform in data leak tests?

    Features and Functionality

    30%

    The best VPNs offer top-tier features while keeping their products simple and easy to use. Can you access servers in a wide variety of locations? Are streaming, torrenting and split tunneling available? We score based on the number of features, speed, as well as app and browser experience.

    Reputation and Credibility

    20%

    We evaluate factors like time in business and changes in service (good and bad). We read community forums and reviews to look for patterns of where a company stands out or is lacking.

    Customer Experience

    10%

    VPN services should answer customer questions quickly. Is there a 24/7 customer support team? How easy (or difficult) is it to contact them? Are their websites helpful and easy to navigate?

    Plans and Pricing/Value

    10%

    There’s a VPN for every budget, so we look at the number of pricing options and whether the cost is proportional to the value customers receive in features, privacy, customer experience and trust.

    IPVanish vs. NordVPN: FAQs

    • Which is faster: IPVanish or NordVPN?

      In our connection speed tests, IPVanish and NordVPN yielded similar results. Your experience will depend on where you are in the world, but download speeds appear to be slightly better in the United States for IPVanish.

    • What is the biggest difference between NordVPN and IPVanish?

      Though there isn’t a wide berth between NordVPN and IPVanish, you’ll notice NordVPN offers a few more advanced features and more servers than IPVanish. On the other hand, IPVanish allows unlimited simultaneous connections while NordVPN only allows six.

    • What is the best VPN for me?

      We’ve tested, researched and compared dozens of VPNs and compiled only the best ones in our 2021 VPN review roundup. Both NordVPN and IPVanish made it to the top of our list.