We talk about IPVanish and PrivateVPN a lot on our site, and for good reason – they’re fast, secure, reliable VPN providers. But you may be wondering what the difference is between the two. Which is faster? Which is better for Netflix and other streaming sites? Which one is better for mobile devices? And which is one better for what kind of user?
We’re going to answer all of these questions today – and more. We’ll talk about some uses for VPNs, then compare connection speeds, size of their server networks, platform availability, usage for VPNs, then compare connection speeds, size of server networks, platform availability, usage for Netflix, as well as logging policies, jurisdiction, and security. Finally, we’ll wrap up with a summary of which VPN is best for which type of user.
First, here’s a quick overview of our competing VPNs:
IPVanish offers 1,100 servers across 60+ different countries, giving you plenty of servers to choose from – so getting connected on a fast, secure server won’t be an issue. With military-grade, 256-bit AES encryption, your information will be secure and safe from prying eyes, and you can adjust the security protocols for your use-case, too (IKEv2, OpenVPN with TCP and UDP, L2TP, IPSec, SSTP, PPTP).
IPVanish has a surprisingly fun server search – just bring up a graphical map of the world, type in a country in the search bar nearby, and you can use the mouse wheel to zoom in on the servers they have available there. You get unlimited server switching, too, which is good – because IPVanish has an entire tab dedicated to IP address settings alone. You can set the VPN to automatically change your IP address every 45 minutes (or longer), which can keep you completely anonymous online.
Finally, whether you’re a first-time VPN user or advanced, IPVanish has managed to straddle the line between ease-of-use and configuration options, without watering it down for either segment.
Learn more in our full IPVanish review.
PrivateVPN is supported across a wide variety of devices and platforms, they offer 80 servers across 56 countries and have many quality-of-life features designed for everyday use. Some of these include unmonitored access to torrent and P2P connections, unlimited bandwidth, and zero restrictions on server switching. PrivateVPN gives you phenomenal encryption, too: 256-bit AES cryptography, with 5 total options for encryption protocols (OpenVPN with UDP/TCP, L2TP, IPsec, PPTP and IKEv2).
PrivateVPN gives you a no-frills approach to their design, focusing on giving you the features you need without complicating things. You can customize and connect in seconds. You can also connect on Fire TV and Fire Stick without having to sideload – a unique distinction among VPNs. Based in Sweden, this provider is beholden to few international privacy laws, and even if they were required to divulge any data, there’d be nothing of use to show: they have a zero-logging policy in place and Sweden has no laws requiring them to retain user data.
Find out more in our comprehensive review of PrivateVPN.
Why you need a VPN
VPNs help you keep your data and online traffic safe, private, and secure. Even if you’re not a world-traveler, businessperson, or journalist, being able to keep yourself anonymous online is vitally important these days. Government agencies the world over keep tabs on your data, and hackers and other cyber criminals are around every corner – so staying safe and private needs to be a priority. VPNs can help with that.
What VPNs can do
VPNs can keep your information safe online, as well as a few others, like these:
- Beat geo-blocks – Many streaming websites (Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc.) restrict your access to certain content based on the location of your IP address. A VPN allows you to change your IP address to another location, allowing you to stream and view content that’s unavailable to your actual location.
- Beat censorship – VPNs can help you get past censorship firewalls so you can access all of the free and open internet.
- Protect your data and identity – VPNs encrypt your data, making it impossible to read. Alongside hiding your actual IP address, they swap it for another one, allowing you to vanish when you connect to the internet.
Comparing IPVanish and PrivateVPN
With that out of the way, let’s start comparing these two great VPNs.
Speed can be pretty easy to measure quantifiably and compare. Having a fast VPN means you can browse, stream, download, and torrent easily. We tested both VPNs out for speed on previous occasions, which you can find in greater detail here:
We ran download tests on multiple file sizes, large sizes, and rapid burst downloads. While IPVanish beat out PrivateVPN for the multiple file download test, PrivateVPN came out just a little higher on average in the other two tests we ran. So the winner in this area is PrivateVPN – but IPVanish was close behind.
The size of a VPN’s network can have a direct effect on your internet experience. Having more servers available gives you more options for getting online fast, bypassing geo-blocks and censorship firewalls, and helps you avoid crowded or lagging servers.
- IPVanish has 1,100 servers across 61 different countries, giving you great worldwide access to different IP addresses. They have especially strong coverage areas in the U.S. west coast, across Europe, and Asia.
- PrivateVPN has 80 servers across 57 countries, which is still plenty to do all the things we mentioned above.
Due to sheer availability of server options, IPVanish is the clear winner in this category.
Even the best VPN in the world is useless to you if you can’t run it on your devices. Most VPNs support a wide variety of platforms, like Windows and Mac, iOS, Linux, Android, and others. But some also offer their service on other devices, like Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Stick, as well as browser extensions. Browser extensions can be helpful for quickly changing connections from one server to another, so it can be handy if you like to use national-based streaming services, like Netflix in the U.S. and the BBC in the U.K.
- Both PrivateVPN and IPVanish offer mobile versions of their apps that are highly-comparable to their desktop versions, giving you many of the same features, like “quick connect” options and pleasing, easy-to-use interfaces.
- IPVanish is supported on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS, Android, Fire TV, Windows phone, Chromebook, and routers.
- PrivateVPN provides support on these and Chrome extension, Amazon Fire TV, and Open ELEC.
So while both VPNs offer support on many usual and atypical devices, PrivateVPN creeps out ahead with a few more additional platforms, as well as the option for a browser extension.
One advantage you gain with VPNs is the ability to rapidly switch your virtual location. So if you’re not happy with the catalogue of movies or shows you can see in, say, France, you can switch your IP address to another country – then just reload and see what you get. With many streaming services (like YouTube), you can do this with just about any VPN. But, Netflix is unique in that it uses more sophisticated versions of VPN blockers and is constantly trying to stay one step ahead.
Unfortunately, IPVanish doesn’t work with Netflix. But you’re in luck here – PrivateVPN does. Despite their relatively small network size, PrivateVPN makes it extremely easy to watch foreign movies and TV shows on your favorite device. They even separate out servers that are best for different streaming services. This makes for an easy choice in the Netflix category of our comparison: PrivateVPN wins.
Zero-logging policies are one of the most important things to consider when you choose a VPN. For many providers, all this means is that they don’t keep logs on your traffic, which is the minimum required to be considered “zero-logging.”
But, some providers also don’t keep logs on other things, like your original IP address, timestamps, DNS requests, and more. The less of your information that your VPN keeps, the better.
Unfortunately, neither of these service providers is very forthcoming on their logging polices: both have firm policies against that main item (traffic), but won’t say what they log in regards to DNS requests, IP addresses, timestamp, and bandwidth logs.
This category is a toss-up: both providers log nothing on traffic, the most critical area, which means in most cases you’ll be safe. Even if other things are logged, there’s nothing that can be done with them without recorded traffic alongside it.
The home location of VPNs is an often-forgotten detail – but an important one. Jurisdiction matters when it comes to a VPN’s effectiveness in keeping your information private and secure. The provider is bound by the laws of the region it abides in, which sometimes require VPNs to maintain logs on their users without needing to tell those same users. We’ve already established that neither IPVanish nor PrivateVPN logs your traffic, but what about the laws of the jurisdiction they’re in?
Luckily, both have decent home-base countries. PrivateVPN finds its home in privacy-friendly Sweden. There are no government regulations that would require them to maintain hidden logs on their users, and they’ve never received a court-order to turn any logs over. But, Sweden is one of the Fourteen eyes countries, which isn’t ideal.
IPVanish has a home-base in the U.S. state of Florida. The United States does not require or enforce mandatory data retention logs, allowing the provider to ignore any requests for information unless they come from official, legal, and verifiable sources. However, the U.S. is involved in many inter-governmental surveillance agreements, and with the Snowden leaks indicating extensive spying on U.S. citizens and foreign visitors, this is concerning.
Neither VPN’s home location is perfect, but PrivateVPN wins this round since Sweden is marginally less intrusive in its surveillance and data requisitioning policies than the U.S.
Security and software
Encryption protocols and security features are incredibly important, as One of the main reasons many people get a VPN is for just that: security. Both providers have great encryption protocols, sharing many similar features, like DNS leak tests, automatic kill switch protection, and 256-bit AES encryption. IPVanish and PrivateVPN also share similar protocols and ports:
- OpenVPN TCP – The default option for both, providing a strong balance of speed and security.
- OpenVPN UDP – Also balanced, and with great speed; but may not work on all networks.
- L2TP/IPSec – Faster, lighter-weight, but not as secure as either of the first two options. Works well with many unusual devices.
- PPTP – Not as fast, reliable, or secure as the previous options, but may help you get connected if the other options fail.
IPVanish also offers SSTP, which is a Microsoft proprietary protocol. This makes it marginally more stable on Windows devices than OpenVPN, which is its main advantage. In most other respects, it is similar to OpenVPN.
With a great similarity in features, neither provider might stand out at first. But consider this: both are offering top-tier protection beyond what most other VPNs can provide. You can’t go wrong with either, but we’ll give a slight nod to IPVanish for extra utility to Windows users.
Conclusion – the VPN for you
Not everyone wants the same things in their VPN, which is why, despite this comparison, it’s still a close call on which provider is better. You might want privacy and speed, while your neighbor may want access to Netflix. Your case might favor one provider, while your neighbor might prefer the other. So while the numbers may show a preference one way or the other, what’s best will be the one that matches your goals for your online experience.
- IPVanish is best for a strong balance of privacy and speed across desktop and mobile apps and options for power users.
- PrivateVPN gives you speed and greater access to Netflix, making it ideal for casual, every-day users.
Ultimately, both IPVanish and PrivateVPN are fantastic services and you can’t go with either of them. If you have any doubt, just click through one of our special offers above and take advantage – you won’t be sorry.
Which VPN do you think is better? Have you used one or the other? Let us know your thoughts below!