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ExpressVPN vs. IPVanish: Security, speed and price compared

IPVanish offers a fun, configurable app at a competitively low price. But how does it stand up to ExpressVPN's blazing speeds and tough security?

Rae Hodge Former senior editor
Rae Hodge was a senior editor at CNET. She led CNET's coverage of privacy and cybersecurity tools from July 2019 to January 2023. As a data-driven investigative journalist on the software and services team, she reviewed VPNs, password managers, antivirus software, anti-surveillance methods and ethics in tech. Prior to joining CNET in 2019, Rae spent nearly a decade covering politics and protests for the AP, NPR, the BBC and other local and international outlets.
Rae Hodge
4 min read

ExpressVPN and IPVanish both offer a wide range of apps to ensure compatibility across a large number of devices. And both offer base-level privacy features, including minimum encryption standards. But that's where the similarities end. Between speed disparities, app interfaces, and pricing -- the two virtual private networks couldn't be more different. 

Committing to a multiyear subscription with a virtual private network can mean dropping hundreds of dollars. We advise sticking to one-year plans in a volatile VPN market but, regardless of your choice, take a look at our side-by-side comparison before signing on the dotted line. IPVanish's fun user interface encourages you to get under the hood and learn the mechanics powering the technology. Meanwhile, ExpressVPN's speed is quickly developing a reputation for being unbeatable. 

Which software has the advantage? Here's our breakdown on each VPN's strengths and weaknesses

Read more: The best VPN services for 2022


A big win for IPVanish is its fun, configurable interface, which makes it an ideal client for beginners who are interested in learning what a VPN does under the hood. In terms of user experience, our only complaint is that IPVanish's desktop clients have been known to get stuck in a loading loop. This occurs in both the Windows and Mac version of the app, and IPVanish's site advises a reinstall. Otherwise, this has become one of our favorite user experiences with a VPN client. 

IPVanish's multiplatform flexibility and 40,000-plus IP addresses are also ideal for people focused on finding a Netflix-friendly VPN. It's compatible with iOS, Android, MacOS, Windows, Linux, routers, Amazon Fire devices, and any Android-based media device. 

Compared to VPN speed-leaders like ExpressVPN, it's tempting to paint IPVanish's speeds as sluggish. In our speed tests, ExpressVPN reduced our speeds by less than 2% compared to IPVanish, which reduced our speeds by about 65%. But IPVanish regularly gives high-profile players such as NordVPN a run for its money in the thrice-daily tests conducted by ProPrivacy. And IPVanish is reaching those speeds with just 1,300 servers in 60 locations, compared to ExpressVPN's 3,000-plus server fleet in 160 locations. 

While I appreciate that IPVanish comes with a standard kill switch feature, I always retain some caution when a VPN is headquartered in the US, and reserve our higher recommendations for those outside of international intelligence-sharing rings such as Five Eyes. I'm also not as confident in IPVanish's leak security as I am with other VPNs, after reviewers at CNET's sister publication ZDNet detected a partial DNS leak during testing. I'm also still hoping to see an independent third-party audit of its operations. 

At $3.99 per month and $48 for a year, IPVanish is obviously trying to move you towards its yearly program. ExpressVPN can't beat that price.  It also recently changed its policy to offer a full 30-day money back guarantee. That said, the company gets kudos for its recent increase from five to 10 simultaneous connections. 

IPVanish review: This speedy VPN has a great user interface.


Despite battling major upheavals through the end of 2021, ExpressVPN clenched our Editor's Choice Award for best VPN in 2022. One of the two largest providers globally, the VPN titan has been in business since 2009 and once again aggressively raised the industry bar for service transparency this year. 

In the past year, ExpressVPN increased its independent third-party audit count, published details about its TrustedServer deployment process, joined the i2Coalition to call for improved VPN industry ethics, and released an open source Lightway encryption protocol.

After a set-back in 2020, ExpressVPN is again currently in first place as the fastest VPN we've tested. While most VPNs will cause you to lose half or more of your normal internet speeds, ExpressVPN caused us to lose just 2% of speeds in our 2022 speed tests. It also unblocks Netflix and other streaming services more reliably than most other VPNs, and seamlessly surpasses geo-blocking for access to international gaming servers and torrenting sites. 

All of our top-rated VPN's have wide compatibility across platforms and operating systems, but ExpressVPN's collection of setup guides, detailed FAQs and troubleshooting articles give it a clear advantage for users. So does its 24/7 customer support, and its no-questions-asked, 30-day money back guarantee.  

While you can get a better month-to-dollar bargain with ExpressVPN's two-year subscription, we don't recommend anyone purchase any two-year VPN subscriptions at this time due to overall market volatility. ExpressVPN's best plan offers five simultaneous connections for $100 a year (which includes three extra months, for a limited-time deal totaling 15 months of service). You can also opt for a $13 per-month plan, or pay $60 for six months. Read our ExpressVPN review.

ExpressVPN review: A VPN speed leader with a secure reputation.

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