NordVPN vs IPVanish: 11 important distinctions (*Updated)

Last updated: October 14 2019 By Dean Chester

NordVPN vs IPVanishIn this NordVPN vs IPVanish comparison I suggest 11 categories where the most important obvious and hidden distinctions of those VPN services were analyzed.

Looking further forward, I’ll announce the winner. NordVPN wins by a landslide (9:2).

It wasn’t an unexpected outcome. The reason for such obvious advantages of NordVPN is in its incredible dynamics of development, while IPVanish has hardly been modified for the last 3 years.

After reading this review-comparison, you’ll learn not only about the distinctions of NordVPN and IPVanish but also about the three reasons why I don’t recommend using IPVanish.


11 distinctions between VPN services: NordVPN vs. IPVanish

I won’t compare all the characteristics inherent in VPNs. There is no need to do it. Here’s the list of parameters which are performed at a high level by both VPN providers whose services were tested:

  • Data encryption
  • Power consumption
  • User-friendly functionality for choosing servers
  • Stable connections

Further, I’ll enumerate the features which both make the services very different and have influenced the ‘’battle’’.

11 distinctions between NordVPN and IPVanish

Category Which is better
Number of servers NordVPN
Speed IPVanish
Own servers IPVanish
NordVPN vs IPVanish for streaming NordVPN
NordVPN vs IPVanish for torrenting NordVPN
Similarity of functionality for different platforms NordVPN
Extensions for browsers NordVPN
VPN obfuscation NordVPN
Jurisdiction NordVPN
Free trial period NordVPN
Prices for services NordVPN

In addition, I’d like to share my opinion from the point of view of an expert and real users’ reviews of these VPN providers.

3 disadvantages of IPVanish that don't make me call it ‘’my’’ VPN

  1. Complete leak of an IP address when connections aren't stable
  2. Kill Switch
  3. Negative reviews

So, I'll start with more detailed analysis of distinctions.

1. Number of servers (NordVPN wins)

Technical equipment of VPN services is crucial. The one that has more servers will be able to share a load in a more balanced way and provide high speeds.

NordVPN has more than 5600 servers in 60 countries! There’s no VPN which can be compared to NordVPN by the number of servers.

IPVanish has 1300+ servers in 50 countries! It’s also a huge number. It’s not surprising as IPVanish is considered to be a large VPN service. Still, the number is fewer in comparison with NordVPN.

2. Speed (IPVanish wins)

Looking further forward, both services are fast enough and if not judging strictly, both VPNs have quite excellent speeds.

Still, there are no equally fast VPNs that’s why I did several tests to choose a formal winner.

My ISP failed to provide the speed which would be enough to measure the saturation point of the fastest servers of NordVPN and IPVanish. Its maximum speed is 100Mbps.

So, I measured the speed on my dedicated server with a 1-Gbps speed which is located in a data center in the Netherlands.

After those tests, I managed to define the winner:

IPVanish: max 194Mbps.

NordVPN: max 146Mbps.

I tested the fastest locations. Taking into account the number of ‘’problem’’ slow IPs, IPVanish has even more such servers than NordVPN.

Thus, IPVanish wins by a narrow margin. Its servers located closer to my real geo-location had faster speeds (the test was conducted by downloading a large file).

3. Own servers (IPVanish wins)

Most IP companies rent servers from hosting companies. Due to this fact it’s easier to develop for them and there’s no need to keep technical specialists.

It’s a normal practice and all companies do it, including NordVPN. I studied the information about dozens of its servers and they are really owned by different hosting companies.

What if a VPN service provider is the owner of its servers? How can users benefit from this fact?

  • additional security (no access by third parties);
  • advanced reliability (highly qualified specialists);

I found that IPVanish is the owner of some servers long ago. I have been doing VPN reviews for many years.

What's more, they claim it on their website:

As the only true Top Tier VPN service provider, we at IPVanish own and operate our entire network, including the servers. This allows us to deliver premium service at a competitive price.

Still, IPVanish has been obtaining more and more IP addresses of hosting companies lately. So, its predominance in this category is not so significant now.

In this table, the owners of NordVPN and IPVanish’s servers are listed:

The owners of servers

Location NordVPN IPVanish
US New York M247 LTD New York Infrastructure Bandcon
US Miami M247 Ltd M Highwinds Network Group *
NL WorldStream B.V. IPVanish
BE M247 Ltd Brussels
(77.243.191.196)
M247 Ltd Brussels
(77.243.191.124)
JP M247 LTD Tokyo Infrastructure Highwinds Network Group
AU Sydney GSL Networks Pty Highwinds Network Group

* Highwinds Network Group was a parent company of IPVanish till 2017.

Today all the servers belong to IPVanish (Bandcon and M247 Ltd are third-party hosting companies).  Here’s the example:

In Belgium NordVPN and IPVanish have servers located in one data center and maintained by M247 LTD.

Thus, it’s not guaranteed that using IPVanish you are connected to its own server.

In this category, IPVanish wins by a narrow margin.

4. NordVPN vs. IPVanish for streaming (NordVPN wins)

Have you heard about the problem of unblocking Netflix and other streaming services for a specific region? Are you uncertain if NordVPN and IPVanish can manage this task?

I will give you a definite answer.

NordVPN wins by a long shot in the “VPN for streaming” category. And I will prove it using the example of my tests as well as customer reviews.

I chose 10 United States (US) servers, 5 United Kingdom (UK) servers, and 3 Japan (JP) servers for each VPN and checked if they could unblock Netflix for those regions.

The table below demonstrates which service performed better.

NordVPN and IPVanish for Netflix: Performance comparison

  NordVPN IPVanish
US 10/10 2/10
UK 5/5 1/5
JP 3/3 0/3

The results didn’t come off as a surprise to me. I had already seen something very similar while writing my VPN services for Netflix review.

Opinions of customers who use NordVPN and IPVanish for Netflix further prove the results of my tests:

Reddit: NordVPN works with Netflix better than IPVanish

So it is obvious that NordVPN is much better suitable for streaming than IPVanish.

5. NordVPN vs. IPVanish for torrenting (NordVPN wins)

It’s common knowledge that one must be extremely cautious when using torrents because it’s hard to tell for sure whether downloading certain files violates the copyright or not. Downloading such files isn’t as dangerous as sharing them, however. And peer-to-peer networks make any files you download automatically accessible to other P2P users.

The most efficient and correct way to keep oneself safe from potential trouble (which is more than possible if one’s ISP tracks torrenting activity) is to use a VPN for torrenting.

But which provider is better in it? NordVPN or IPVanish?

NordVPN protects its users better than IPVanish. Here’s why:

  • dedicated torrenting servers;
  • two types of a kill switch on all platforms;
  • doesn’t keep any logs.

As for IPVanish, all three characteristics above are not as good:

  • it has no list of 100% safe P2P servers;
  • only the Windows version has a kill switch;
  • doesn’t keep logs but has a controversial history.

Servers:

If you aren’t sure which server to choose for torrenting, NordVPN has a list of suitable locations. That’s very convenient.

NordVPN: dedicated servers for torrenting

On the one hand, IPVanish doesn’t prohibit the use of torrents. But on the other, it doesn’t help its users to understand if it’s safe to use a specific server.

Kill Switch:

A kill switch blocks any traffic in the event of the VPN disconnecting. It protects the user even if the VPN turns off on its own.

NordVPN doesn’t only offer a regular kill switch on all platforms. It also lets users set it up for any apps of their choice if they require it. For example, it can be set up for the torrenting client or for KODI.

IPVanish, unfortunately, only has a kill switch on PC.

Logs:

There hasn’t been a single controversy or a revelation that would cast doubt on NordVPN’s no-logs policy for as long as it exists (since 2012). This service doesn’t track or store its users’ activity on its VPN servers.

IPVanish, however, had a serious controversy happened to it in 2016. Then, it turned out that it kept its customers’ usage data and there was a case of giving it away to law enforcement. To get a “fresh start”, IPVanish had to even change its parent company.

I have analyzed and compared all the attributes of a VPN that are important for torrenting. I base my conclusion on their results – NordVPN is better suited for torrenting than IPVanish.

6. Similarity of functionality for different platforms (NordVPN wins)

Not everyone knows that the functionality advertised by a VPN service is often not present on all platforms.

I have noticed a pattern by researching dozens of VPNs:

  1. The Windows version is the fullest one;
  2. The version for Apple devices has the least functionality.

When choosing a VPN, it’s worth keeping in mind that you can generally use 5 or more devices per one subscription. So, even if you only need a VPN for one device today (and the service you’ve chosen provides satisfactory functionality for that device), you can start using this VPN with another device and platform. Not to find that the VPN you chose isn’t so safe or doesn’t have a feature you need on another platform, it’s a good idea to choose a provider that has powerful apps for all OSs.

To compare NordVPN and IPVanish on different platforms, I put their basic functions in the following table:

NordVPN and IPVanish: Functionality comparison

Feature NordVPN IPVanish
IP protection All OSs All OSs
Traffic encryption All OSs All OSs
Kill Switch All OSs Windows
VPN obfuscation All OSs Windows Android
Double VPN Windows macOS Android -
Dedicated servers All OSs -
Special torrent servers All OSs -

I will delve into some of the features more in the following sections.

But I can determine the winner in this category right away, and it’s NordVPN. Its functionality is practically identical on every platform, whereas IPVanish’s functions differ from OS to OS.

7. Extensions for browsers (NordVPN wins)

NordVPN has two browser extensions, one for Google Chrome and one for Firefox. They can be used without installing the main VPN app.

NordVPN: Chrome browser extension

Browser extensions don’t protect the whole system. They only allow you to anonymously surf the Internet with one browser. They do not depend on the VPN app while the app protects all the programs installed on the device.

In some cases, however, it may be convenient to use two different virtual IPs on the same device by using the app and the browser plugin at the same time.

IPVanish doesn’t provide any browser extensions. With it, it’s only possible to visit websites safely after installing the VPN app.

Thus, NordVPN offers more for anonymous Web surfing than IPVanish.

8. VPN obfuscation (NordVPN wins)

Any VPN protocol, despite encrypting all data, leaves its “tracks”. Nowadays, some countries (such as China) tackle on those who try to bypass censorship by tracking the use of a VPN and blocking it.

VPN obfuscation helps to hide the use of a VPN from tracking technology. It alters those “tracks” and makes VPN activities as disguised as possible.

Both NordVPN and IPVanish offer the traffic obfuscation feature:

Obfuscation settings in NordVPN

Obfuscation settings in IPVanish

There are two important differences, though, that make the use of IPVanish’s obfuscation function ineffective.

  1. NordVPN offers obfuscation for all operating systems save for iOS while IPVanish has this feature only in its Windows app;
  2. NordVPN’s obfuscation does help to bypass VPN blocks. User reviews confirm it.

Reddit: NordVPN helps to unblock sites

Reddit: NordVPN’s obfuscated servers work in China

Evidence shows that obfuscation alone is never enough. A provider has to continuously update its IP addresses because even the servers that support obfuscation get blacklisted. NordVPN actively does just that.

Despite having the obfuscation feature, IPVanish doesn’t help its users to bypass any VPN blocks. The reason for that is the slowness of the IP server updating process. Moreover, on IPVanish’s website, there is a message telling that the provider’s obfuscation won’t help to bypass censorship:

Our IPVanish VPN apps are unlikely to work if you are attempting to connect to our VPN from inside of China or other countries that block our domain or website.

So, despite the fact that both services declare the obfuscation feature, NordVPN offers a higher-quality function and on more platforms than IPVanish.

9. Jurisdiction (NordVPN wins)

Few people pay attention to the country under the influence of which a certain VPN is located. Many users think that if they don’t do anything illegal, it doesn’t matter how much power over their VPN provider authorities have.

However, let’s imagine that someone commits a crime using the same VPN server as you when you are also connected to it. Security services can be monitoring that criminal’s activities by gaining access to the server judicially. Moreover, the nature of a VPN allows an observer who has access to a server to see the activity of all its users, including you.

And what if the provider has to start keeping logs under the government’s pressure? Then the risk of drawing attention to your actions will grow.

Besides that, some of the developed countries are working together in intelligence alliances. Their members can gather and exchange private information on their citizens.

Therefore, it’s well worth the effort to make sure that your VPN’s jurisdiction is as far removed from such countries as possible.

NordVPN is based in Panama. This country is not a member of any surveillance alliance and is considered to be a good VPN jurisdiction.

IPVanish is based in the United States. Potentially, this jurisdiction lowers the VPN’s privacy.

10. Free trial (NordVPN wins)

Seeing is believing…”

Many users prefer to test a service before paying for it even as far as good paid VPNs are concerned.

While NordVPN offers such an opportunity, IPVanish does not.

Even though the free trial of NordVPN is hardly the most convenient one in the market, it’s better than nothing. The provider offers a 7-day free trial to test the app on Android. To activate it, a credit card is required.

There is no free trial on other platforms. However, given how full the functionality of the Android app is, it is enough to get to know this service.

So, NordVPN wins in this category because IPVanish is inaccessible for free.

11. Pricing (NordVPN wins)

Perhaps, the difference in prices of NordVPN and IPVanish will be the key to decide which service to choose. Prices depend heavily on the subscription period.

Here are the prices of NordVPN:

IPVanish: Prices

Now compare them to the prices of IPVanish:

IPVanish: Prices

NordVPN and IPVanish: Prices comparison (per month)

  NordVPN IPVanish
The lowest price $3.49 (3 years) $6.49 (1 year)
1 month $11.95 $10
1 year $6.99 $6.49

Considering the subscription period, the prices of both providers are about the same and are close to the market average. But owing to the cheap 3-year plan, NordVPN wins in this category.

So, NordVPN wins by a large margin – 9:2. It is bigger, offers wider functionality, and is being more dynamically developed. Besides, it is also better than other VPNs in many categories:

VPN for Android

VPN for Mac

VPN for torrenting


3 flaws of IPVanish that stop me from choosing it

I did my best to compare IPVanish and NordVPN impartially in the last section. I showed you my test results and only stated my opinions briefly.

In this chapter, I want to tell you about my long experience of using both VPNs and provide some fresh Reddit comments.

I like NordVPN more than other services. I regard it as the best VPN available today and use it more than others.

On the other hand, in 2019, IPVanish is nowhere near as powerful. Even if we look at the service’s official update list, we’ll see that there were no major updates over the last 3 years.

Besides, I have delineated three main problems of IPVanish that need to be told about.

1. Full IP address leak when the connection is intermittent

This problem is present in the Android version of IPVanish.

Under certain circumstances, when the VPN connection turns off, the app keeps showing it as active.

I found it out while testing the VPN with my Wi-Fi network connection unstable. It happens all the time in real life but is rarely paid sufficient attention to in VPN reviews.

I used a program that logs the network condition data and shows every IP address change or disconnection.

Looking ahead, I need to mention that NordVPN successfully passed this test.

As for IPVanish, its results are below:

IPVanish leaks the IP address after a disconnection

To elaborate:

16:21:13 – a successful VPN connection.

16:21:49 – a disconnection (the Wi-Fi signal is lost)

16:21:56 – a reconnection. The VPN doesn’t work anymore and my real IP can be seen.

At the same time, the IPVanish app still shows VPN as active. On a mobile device, a disconnection can happen at any moment but IPVanish will not inform you that the VPN doesn’t work anymore. I consider it to be a serious bug and a threat to users’ security.

2. No Kill Switch

The previous problem is present, among other reasons, because IPVanish doesn't have a kill switch on any platform but Windows. If it did have it in its mobile apps like NordVPN does, it could have prevented problems in unusual conditions.

NordVPN and IPVanish: Apps that have a kill switch

  NordVPN IPVanish
Windows + +
Android + -
macOS + -
iOS + -

To my mind, a kill switch is the most important extra feature of a modern VPN. Therefore, for a service not to provide a function this vital for security and privacy is a large drawback.

3. Negative reviews

My opinion of IPVanish is also affected by real user reviews. I only took those that talked about important properties of this provider into consideration. There were more than a few of those. Here are several of them:

Reddit: IPVanish not working

Reddit: IPVanish is slow

Reddit: IPVanish is super slow

Reddit: IPVanish is not as good as NordVPN

IPVanish is rarely, if ever, recommended by users. There are complaints about its speed, no acceptable Netflix support, problems with the kill switch, etc.


Conclusion

I knew that NordVPN outdoes IPVanish in many aspects when I started writing this article because here on CoolTechZone.com, we test and compare dozens of services and monitor top VPNs’ updates on the regular.

Nevertheless, I tested both VPNs thoroughly once again and, sadly, found no major improvements in IPVanish.

At the same time, NordVPN’s development is simply surprising:

  • Regular software updates,
  • the number of servers constantly increases,
  • the support of such difficult-to-implement features as geo-restricted content unblocking and censorship bypassing is actively worked on.

The current popularity of IPVanish can be explained by its past greatness. Three or four years ago, it was among the best services and even the best one in some regions.

The interest in NordVPN is caused by its present features.

You can also read:

ExpressVPN vs NordVPN 

ExpressVPN vs IPVanish

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