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NordVPN vs IPVanish VPN: Which VPN should you get?

Verified by Amy Reeves

Using a virtual private network (VPN) service has become increasingly important as we spend more time online. Each time we visit a website or click a link, there’s a high chance that we’re sharing personal data with third-party companies and potentially cybercriminals. 

However, there’s a simple solution that keeps all our online activity hidden from prying eyes. A reliable VPN service that will encrypt your data whenever you’re online will lessen worries about any of your personal information leaking over the internet.

In this article, we’ll compare two VPN service providers head-to-head, give you a complete breakdown of their features and how they performed in our user testing, so you have all the information you need to make an informed decision. 

NordVPN is the brainchild of Nordsec, a company that develops cybersecurity software. NordVPN was launched in 2012, with its first app available for Android in May 2016, followed by an iOS app in June 2016 and its Chrome browser extension in 2017. 

The other VPN service provider we’re focusing on is IPVanish, founded by Mudhook Media in 2012; it’s an independent subsidiary of Highwinds in Florida. IPVanish is currently owned by J2 Global – also known as Ziff Davis.

To determine which VPN service is best, we’ll compare their features, subscription plans, apps and functionality. Conducting speed tests is vital for comparing the performance of both VPNs to give us information about connection speeds, server locations, user interface, access to restricted content and other useful features that can help us see the big picture and find a clear winner.

Most VPN providers offer similar services and deciding which one to choose will ultimately depend on your preferences and needs. 

NordVPN vs IPVanish: At a glance

We’ve tested and compared IPVanish and NordVPN features so that you can get all the information you need if you’re considering either one as your VPN provider.

NordVPN IPVanish
Lowest price £2.79/month (24 months) £2.59/month (for 24 months)
Free version No No
Max number of connected devices 6 Unlimited simultaneous connections
Number of servers 5,000+ 2,200+
Server locations 94 75+
Encryption AES-256 AES-256
VPN protocols OpenVPN IKEv2/IPSec NordLynx OpenVPN IKEv2 L2TP/IPSec WireGuard
No-log policy
Audited
Headquarters Panama United States

You can connect up to six devices simultaneously using NordVPN but IPVanish offers its users fantastic value by allowing unlimited devices with each subscription. 

NordVPN offers its services in 60 locations spread across North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific, whereas IPVanish has its servers spread across different parts of the world, with 1,450+ in North America, 550+ in Europe, 100+ in Asia, 70+ in Oceania, 35+ in South America and two servers in Africa.

NordVPN and IPVanish both use Advanced Encryption Standard 256-bit (AES-256), the strongest encryption available. Even if someone wanted to hack your connection, it would require a lot of persistence and very hi-tech equipment; decrypting AES-256 is almost impossible. 

When you connect to a VPN service, it cloaks your internet traffic from your internet service provider, and your online activity is masked from other prying eyes. However, the VPN service provider would have access to all such information, so you may want to opt for a VPN service that doesn’t log your online activities.

NordVPN and IPVanish have strict no-log policies and claim they don’t collect users’ data or online activity. NordVPN was audited in 2018 and then again in 2021. On 10 January 2023, NordVPN announced its third independent audit verifying its no-log claims. IPVanish has recently been audited by Leviathan Security Group, a third-party organisation, and had it’s no-logs policy verified.

NordVPN uses three internet protocols: Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2)/Internet Protocol Security (IPSec), OpenVPN and NordLynx. The latter, NordLynx offers additional security, as it is built around WireGuard, so you can enjoy fast internet connections without jeopardising your security. NordVPN also offers Double VPN and Onion over specialist servers, which will be of interest to those who require enhanced security, such as journalists, activists and so on.

IPVanish also uses the same protocols: OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec and WireGuard.

NordVPN’s headquarters are located in The Netherlands, but operate under the jurisdiction of Panama, which isn’t part of any international surveillance alliances – a sigh of relief for privacy-cautious users. On the flip side, IPVanish headquarters is in the US, which is a part of Five Eyes, an intelligence-sharing alliance.

Plans, pricing and trials

NordVPN offers several options for subscribers. The cheapest option is its two-year plan, which costs £2.49/month. It’s an overall discount of 67 per cent, while the provider will also throw in three extra months for free.

NordVPN offers its users three subscription plans: Standard, Plus and Complete. Each plan offers varied prices for subscriptions of different lengths. The Complete package offers secure, high-speed VPN, malware protection, tracker and ad blocker, cross-platform password manager, Data Breach Scanner, 1 TB cloud storage, and next-generation file encryption. 

IPVanish offers a similar subscription model to NordVPN with monthly, yearly and two-year plans. We’ve also listed the prices for its Standard subscription below. 

Subscription term NordVPN IPVanish
Standard monthly £10.39/month £9.43 ($11.99)/month
Standard 12 months £3.99/month £2.95 ($3.33)/month
Standard 24 months £2.79/month £2.04 ($2.92)/month
Plus monthly £11.19/month N/A
Plus 12 months £4.79/month N/A
Plus 24 months £3.59/month N/A
Complete monthly £11.99/month N/A
Complete 12 months £5.59/month N/A
Complete 24 months £4.39/month N/A

It’s evident from comparing the subscription prices that NordVPN is the more expensive choice and you can’t use all of its features on its cheapest plan. NordVPN may seem expensive, but it has more than double the servers of IPVanish and has been audited three times, so far, which is unique for a VPN provider. In comparison, IPVanish offers straightforward prices that are more affordable.

Unfortunately, neither NordVPN nor IPVanish offer a free trial for PC or Mac, making it difficult for users to decide whether to subscribe. However, NordVPN does offer a free seven-day trial for Android devices. They both offer a 30-day money-back guarantee to their customers. You just need to contact customer support, and they’ll help you with the refund process.

Security

As far as security features are concerned, there are slight variations between IPVanish and NordVPN since both of them offer similar encryption and protocols. Both offer AES-256 encryption, OpenVPN and IKEv2. However, NordLynx is unique to NordVPN, while IPVanish uses other protocols such as Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol (L2TP) and WireGuard.

Encryption

Encryption type NordVPN IPVanish
AES-256

Available protocols

Protocol NordVPN IPVanish
OpenVPN
SSTP
IKEv2
WireGuard
PPTP
L2TP
NordLynx

AES-256 encryption is famously referred to as military-grade encryption, a key feature of both NordVPN and IPVanish. Decrypting AES-256 is almost impossible, so it’s approved and used by cybersecurity experts, governments and cryptography enthusiasts. The number 256 refers to the encryption key estimate, meaning it has 2^256 possible combinations, making it practically impossible to penetrate; however, one cannot claim that any encryption cypher is completely impenetrable. 

Generally, the protocols for both VPN service providers are active by default; however, they allow users to choose any protocol they prefer. This feature is not offered by all the VPN providers in the market.

Performance

To assess the performance of NordVPN and IPVanish, we carried out a few tests to check the speed of their connections. As an internet speed test consists of three key components, download speed, upload speed and latency, we decided to test the download speed first.

Download speed

NordVPN IPVanish
No VPN 37.45Mbps 72.08Mbps
UK to UK 35.94Mbps 67.97Mbps
UK to US 35.97Mbps 54.97Mbps
UK to AU 31.92Mbps 60Mbps
Ping 9ms 13ms
Percentage of base download speed (UK to UK) 95% 94%

We used Speedtest by Ookla to test the VPN’s speed connections. 

Without a VPN service, we reached the typical download speeds of 37.45Mbps (NordVPN) and 72.08Mbps (IPVanish). Next, we logged into both VPNs individually and set the location to a UK server. NordVPN’s download speed on the UK server was 35.94Mbps, and IPVanish’s speed on the UK server was 67.97Mbps.

After that, we switched to a US server. The results for NordVPN were 35.97Mbps, and IPVanish reached 54.97Mbps. 

Finally, we connected both VPN services to an Australian server. NordVPN recorded a speed of 31.92Mbps, and IPVanish recorded a speed of 60Mbps. 

Upload speed

NordVPN IPVanish
No VPN 9.38Mbps 17.92Mbps
UK to UK 8.95Mbps 16.95Mbps
UK to US 8.91Mbps 10.07Mbps
UK to AU 8.28Mbps 17.25Mbps
Ping 9ms 13ms
Percentage of base upload speed (UK to UK) 95% 94%

The typical upload speeds without a VPN were 9.38Mbps (NordVPN) and 17.92Mbps (IPVanish). However, the upload speed for the UK-to-UK connection for NordVPN was 8.95Mbps, while IPVanish reached 16.95Mbps. 

The upload speeds for a UK-to-US connection were 8.91Mbps for NordVPN and 10.07Mbps for IPVanish. 

Testing the upload speeds on an Australian server gave us 8.28Mbps for NordVPN and 17.25Mbps for IPVanish. 

Logging and privacy

NordVPN and IPVanish both have strict no-logs policies. NordVPN has had independent third-party audits three times, whereas IPVanish had one. Hence, the no-logs policies for both services are verified.

NordVPN IPVanish
No-logs policy
Audited
Kill switch
Headquarters in a data-secure country
Headquarters Panama United States

While the kill switch feature is common to both VPN service providers, there’s a difference in their headquarters locations. NordVPN offers more security, as it’s located in Panama, where there are no regulations forcing it to share your data with the government. However, IPVanish headquarters is in the United States, where VPN providers have to share their users’ data, if required by the government.

Geo-unblocking and streaming

As a VPN masks your location, some people may choose to use it to help them access geo-restricted content. This refers to content that would normally be blocked due to a user’s geographical location.

Sites and services unblocked

NordVPN IPVanish
Twitter
YouTube
Netflix
Disney Plus
Prime Video
HBO Max
BBC iPlayer

IPVanish and NordVPN both do an excellent job unblocking geo-restrictions and allowing you to stream content on various websites.

Torrenting

Using a VPN while torrenting (a way of sharing files and data) is generally advised to protect your identity and geo-unblock files. 

Both NordVPN and IPVanish offer peer-to-peer servers that are optimised for torrenting and can handle large data transfers.

Apps

NordVPN’s mobile app is compatible with both Android and iOS devices.

Mobile apps

For Android devices, NordVPN offers two protocols: OpenVPN and NordLynx. However, it offers three protocols for iOS devices; OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec and NordLynx. Furthermore, the NordVPN mobile app offers easy setup, secure connections, server selection, a user-friendly interface and a kill switch.

IPVanish offers almost identical features as NordVPN for its mobile app: easy setup, one-click selection, secure browsing, privacy protection, server selection and more.

Desktop apps

NordVPN and IPVanish desktop apps are compatible with Windows, macOS and Linux. 

The NordVPN desktop app offers server selection, easy installation, a user-friendly interface, customisation options and automatic updates.

The IPVanish desktop app offers identical features to its mobile app. Split tunnelling and auto reconnection are also available for IPVanish desktop users.

Supported platforms

NordVPN IPVanish
Windows
Mac
Android
iPhone
iPad
Android TV
Apple TV
Amazon Fire TV Stick
Roku
Router support

Support

Like other service providers, VPN providers offer their users customer support when necessary to deal with any queries or issues. NordVPN and IPVanish offer quick and efficient 24-hour live chat support for their users.

nordvpn support page

NordVPN has a troubleshooting guide and a dedicated FAQs page on its website. In addition, a help centre page has links to useful articles, tutorials, setup guides and more.

IPVanish also offers email support, 24-hour live support, setup guides and a comprehensive knowledge base on its website. The knowledge base includes FAQs, articles, manuals and other related topics.

Reputation and credibility

In March 2018, a server in Finland that NordVPN had been renting was accused of providing access without authorisation. However, NordVPN claimed that the intruder found no user activities, usernames or identities and only successfully found an expired Transport Layer Security key. The server was terminated when NordVPN was notified of the breach and an extensive audit was performed.

ipvanish support page

Only one server was affected, which was possible because of the poor configuration of a third-party data centre in Finland, while the other servers remained unaffected. No other incidents have been reported since then.

On the other hand, IPVanish has never suffered an external site breach. 

NordVPN vs IPVanish: Which is best?

Although both IPVanish and NordVPN offer a high level of security, customer service, features, intuitive user interfaces and many servers spread across different nations, it’s evident that NordVPN is superior when comparing the two.

NordVPN has more than double the number of servers, has been audited three times and has a location advantage – as it’s in Panama, your data cannot be accessed by any government. This does not mean IPVanish is a bad option, especially if you’re looking for something affordable that allows access to all its features, even on its cheapest subscription.

Round up of today’s best VPN deals
NordVPN 2 year £2.49 /Month
£2.49 /Month
Surfshark 24 month £1.79 /Month
£1.79 /Month
ExpressVPN 12 month £6.79 /Month
£6.79 /Month
CyberGhost 2 year £1.78 /Month
£1.78 /Month
Proton 2 year £4.26 /Month
£4.26 /Month
PIA 2 year £1.57 /Month
£1.57 /Month
Atlas 2 year £1.34 /Month
£1.34 /Month
PrivadoVPN 2 year £1.99 /Month
£1.99 /Month
Windscribe 12 month £4.60 /Month
£4.60 /Month
IPVanish 2 year £2.92 /Month
£2.92 /Month

Amy Reeves

Editor

Amy is a seasoned writer and editor with a special interest in home design, sustainable technology and green building methods.

She has interviewed hundreds of self-builders, extenders and renovators about their journeys towards individual, well-considered homes, as well as architects and industry experts during her five years working as Assistant Editor at Homebuilding & Renovating, part of Future plc.

Amy’s work covers topics ranging from home, interior and garden design to DIY step-by-steps, planning permission and build costs, and has been published in Period Living, Real Homes, and 25 Beautiful Homes, Homes and Gardens.

Now an Editor at the Independent Advisor, Amy manages homes-related content for the site, including solar panels, combi boilers, and windows.

Her passion for saving tired and inefficient homes also extends to her own life; Amy completed a renovation of a mid-century house in 2022 and is about to embark on an energy-efficient overhaul of a 1800s cottage in Somerset.