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ExpressVPN vs IPVanish

ExpressVPN vs IPVanish

ExpressVPN and IPVanish VPN are both very popular VPN services that claim to provide users with absolute privacy, easy-to-use apps, and a fast connection via servers all over the world. 

These are two of the best VPNs available, and it’s not easy to choose between them. 

To help you make the right choice for you, we’ve created an in-depth, side-by-side comparison of ExpressVPN and IPVanish.

Pricing

 

ExpressVPN

IPVanish

1-month plan

$12.95 per month

$10.00 per month

3-month plan

N/A

$26.99 (equivalent to $8.99 per month)

6-month plan

$59.99 (equivalent to $9.99 per month)

N/A

1-year plan

$99.95 (equivalent to $8.32 per month)

$47.99 (equivalent to $3.99 per month)

Refund period

30 days

7 days

IPVanish is cheaper than ExpressVPN on every plan. 

IPVanish and ExpressVPN both offer discounts on their mid-term plans (which is a three-month plan for IPVanish, and a six-month plan for ExpressVPN). 

But the one-year plan is where the price difference really opens up — IPVanish is less than half the price of ExpressVPN if you pay for a year up-front.

This is a big commitment, but both brands offer a money-back guarantee period — so, as long as you remember to cancel within the refund period, there’s no risk involved.

IPVanish


IPVanish is much cheaper than ExpressVPN, especially on its long-term one-year plan.

Features

ExpressVPN

IPVanish

Simultaneous connections

5

10

VPN apps — operating systems

Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire, various routers including ASUS, Linksys, and Netgear models

Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire

Browser extensions

Chrome, Firefox, Safari

None

Manual install on routers

Yes

Yes

Split tunneling

Desktop only

Android only

Bonuses

Speed Test

250 GB SugarSync Cloud Storage (1-year plan only)

One great feature of IPVanish is that it lets you add up to 10 devices to your account. This is double the number offered by ExpressVPN. 

ExpressVPN comes with browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. These are really useful as they provide quick and easy access to your VPN connection when browsing the web. Unfortunately — and unusually for a VPN — IPVanish doesn’t provide any browser extensions at all.

ExpressVPN offers split tunneling for its desktop apps, and IPVanish offers it for its Android app. Split tunneling means you can allow certain apps to bypass your VPN connection. So, for example, you can stream video at high speed via your normal ISP connection, while browsing the web privately via your VPN.

Both companies offer bonus features — ExpressVPN includes a built-in speed test, which is quite useful if you’re trying to find the best server for streaming or torrenting. IPVanish provides 250 GB cloud storage for its 1-year plan subscribers. This is a really good incentive to sign up for that plan.

Tie


There are big differences between the features these brands have to offer. However, it’s hard to say which feature set is “better.” ExpressVPN’s browser extensions are a real bonus for this brand. However, if you need to use the VPN on more than five devices, consider IPVanish.

Security

ExpressVPN

IPVanish

Protocols

OpenVPN with TCP/UDP, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, PTPP.

OpenVPN with TCP/UDP, IKEv2m L2TP/IPSec, PPTP 

Data/control-channel encryption

AES-256-CBC, RSA-4096

AES-256-CBC, RSA-2048 

Killswitch

Yes

Yes

Both ExpressVPN and IPVanish provide access to the same broad range of VPN protocols. They both support AES 256-bit encryption for user data. This is a very high encryption standard and is pretty much universal among VPN services.


ExpressVPN encrypts its control channel to RSA-4096, whereas IPVanish uses RSA-2048. This doesn’t mean that IPVanish is insecure — no-one has yet managed to crack RSA-2048. However, progress is gradually being made towards doing so, and it’s good that ExpressVPN has this added level of security for the future. 


Both VPN providers feature a “killswitch.” This provides protection against accidental data leaks by cutting your internet connection if your VPN drops out.


As far as we know, neither ExpressVPN or IPVanish has ever suffered a data breach. However, IPVanish did have a worrying privacy-related incident which we will discuss in the “Privacy” section, below.

ExpressVPN


ExpressVPN wins our “Security” round. It has a slight edge over IPVanish due to its higher-grade control channel encryption.

Speed & servers

ExpressVPN

IPVanish

Servers

Over 3000

Over 1300

Countries

94

50+

Many VPN providers claim that they are the fastest. The reason they can all make this claim is because, in certain places, at certain times, under certain circumstances, they could provide the fastest download speed. But there are too many variables to really gauge which VPN provider is fastest overall.


A more meaningful measure is to look at the number of server locations each VPN service has. ExpressVPN is the clear winner in this respect.


Not only does ExpressVPN have servers in far more countries than IPVanish, it also has more than double the total number of servers. This means it can provide a more reliable and, most likely, faster service to a greater number of people.

ExpressVPN


ExpressVPN has more servers in more locations, and is therefore likely to be faster and more reliable than IPVanish for the average user.

Privacy

 

ExpressVPN

IPVanish

Logs policy

Logs certain data about apps and servers used

No logs (now)

User info required

Email address

Email address

Anonymous payment options

Cryptocurrencies, gift cards

None

Home jurisdiction

British Virgin Islands (BVI)

United States

Privacy is different from security. We know these VPN providers can keep your data safe as it flows through their servers. So far, neither has fallen victim to hackers. But, for a number of reasons, some VPN providers intentionally store and share private user data.


Both ExpressVPN and IPVanish claim to have a no-logs policy, meaning that they don’t store information about their users’ IP addresses, or their online activity. 


ExpressVPN does log certain aggregate data about server connections for maintenance purposes. The company states that this data could not be used to identify individual users, and this claim is plausible.


As for IPVanish, there is a good reason to be concerned about this company’s privacy practices. In 2016, IPVanish handed over the personal information of one of its users to the US Department of Homeland Security.


This incident exposed the company’s logging policy as being apparently untrustworthy. But in defense of IPVanish, the company was under different ownership at the time. The company’s new owners have distanced themselves from the incident and vow not to keep any logs.


However, it’s also important to note that, unlike ExpressVPN, IPVanish does not accept anonymous payment methods such as Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. This could, in theory, make it easier for authorities to trace an individual user’s identity.

ExpressVPN


You should not use a VPN to engage in any illegal activity. However, you still have a right to privacy, and ExpressVPN has a much better track record of keeping its users’ data private.

Content unblocking

 

ExpressVPN

IPVanish

Netflix

Yes

Yes (US only)

BBC

Yes

No

Amazon Prime Video

Yes

No

Hulu

Yes

No

Want to use your VPN to view censored or geo-restricted content? Connect to a server located in a country of your choosing, and you should be able to see the web and watch streaming services just as people in that country.


Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. Netflix and other online services spend a lot of time and money trying to block VPN users from streaming content outside of their region. And some VPN providers are better at getting around these blocks than others.


ExpressVPN is easily one of the best VPN providers when it comes to unblocking online content. Users can access all major streaming services in regions all over the world. IPVanish simply doesn’t compare. It struggles to unblock even relatively “easy” platforms like Hulu.

ExpressVPN


If you want to watch restricted online content, don’t bother with IPVanish VPN — ExpressVPN is the best on the market.

Our pick

ExpressVPN


ExpressVPN is the clear winner of this head-to-head with IPVanish VPN.


IPVanish does have some advantages. For example, it’s cheaper, and it lets you connect more than five devices. However, if you care about privacy or unblocking geo-restricted content — two major reasons to use a VPN — there’s really no contest. ExpressVPN is better.


Remember, ExpressVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee, and IPVanish VPN has a 7-day money-back guarantee. Give them a try, and see which work is right for you.

NordVPN vs Private Internet Access

NordVPN vs Private Internet Access

NordVPN and Private Internet Access (also known as “PIA”) are major players in the VPN market. They have many loyal users and — for the most part — excellent reputations.

There’s a huge variation in quality between VPN providers, but at the very top of the market (where both these brands sit) the differences become technical and complicated.

Struggling to pick a VPN provider? Read our side-by-side comparison of Private Internet Access and NordVPN to help you choose.

Pricing

 

NordVPN

Private Internet Access

1-month plan

$11.95 per month

$9.95 per month

6-month plan

N/A

$35.95 (equivalent to $5.99 per month)

1-year plan

$83.88 (equivalent to $6.99 per month)

$39.95 (equivalent to $3.33 per month)

2-year plan

$119.76 (equivalent to $4.99 per month)

N/A

3-year plan

$125.64 (equivalent to $3.49 per month)

N/A

Refund period

30 days

7 days

Private Internet Access is cheaper than NordVPN across the board. This is true on its monthly plan and it becomes very apparent when we look at each brand’s longer-term plans.

VPN companies typically try to draw customers into long-term commitments by offering big discounts on their longer plans. That’s why NordVPN offers a three-year plan, which brings its monthly-equivalent price down a lot.

Unlike NordVPN, Private Internet Access doesn’t offer a three-year plan or even a two-year plan. However — Pure Internet Access’s one-year subscription works out cheaper than NordVPN’s three-year subscription on a month-by-month basis. That’s seriously good value.

Remember that although these better-value subscriptions are pretty long-term, both companies offer a money-back guarantee period. NordVPN’s is 30 days long, but Private Internet Access only offers a 7-day refund period. 

Private Internet Access


Private Internet Access is one of the best-value VPNs around, and it’s the clear winner compared to NordVPN on price.

Features

 

Private Internet Access

NordVPN

Connections

5

6

VPN apps — operating systems

Windows, macOS, iOS, Android

Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire.

Browser extensions

Chrome, Firefox, Opera

Chrome, Firefox.

Split tunneling

No

No

Bonuses

Anti-malware and ad-blocker software

CyberSec (anti-malware and ad-blocker software)

Private Internet Access allows up to ten simultaneous VPN connections, compared to NordVPN’s six. This is extremely generous — in fact, it’s probably more than most people need.

Both VPN providers provide desktop apps for PC and Mac, and mobile apps for Android and IOS. NordVPN also provides apps for Linux and Amazon Fire. Private Internet Access users must manually install the app on these operating systems.

Private Internet Access and NordVPN both provide extensions/add-ons for Chrome and Firefox, and Private Internet Access also offers an extension for Opera browser.

Neither brand offers “split tunneling,” a feature that enables you to route some web traffic through your VPN while using your regular internet connection for other activity. Both Private Internet Access and NordVPN also throw in some bonus anti-malware and ad-blocker software.

Private Internet Access


Private Internet Access wins this round because it provides so many simultaneous connections. It also has an Opera extension — the latest version of Opera does include a built-in “VPN,” but it’s not as private as PIA’s.

Security

NordVPN

Private Internet Access

Protocols

OpenVPN with TCP/UDP, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP

OpenVPN with TCP/UDP, L2TP/IPSec, PTPP.

Data/control-channel encryption

AES-256-CBC, RSA-2048 

AES-256-CBC, RSA-4096

Killswitch

Yes

Yes

VPNs usually let users connect to several different protocols. Unusually, Private Internet Access only provides easy access to the OpenVPN protocol. This is the most secure and best all-round VPN protocol, but some might prefer faster options such as PTPP. You can connect to other protocols via Private Internet Access, but NordVPN makes it much easier.

Private Internet Access and NordVPN both use military-grade 256-bit encryption to protect user activity data. For the “control channel” Private Internet Access uses RSA-4096, which is considerably stronger than NordVPN’s RSA-2048 (which is already very secure).

Both VPN providers offer a “killswitch,” which automatically cuts off your internet connection whenever your VPN disconnects. This stops your device from automatically switching to your normal connection, which would reveal your IP address and online activity.

NordVPN is very proud of its “double VPN” technique — it encrypts user data twice via a method known as “server chaining.” This sounds great, and, in theory, it’s twice as secure as regular encryption. However, 256-bit encryption is already effectively uncrackable.

Both Private Internet Access and NordVPN have previously experienced security issues. Private Internet Access’s security incident occurred in 2015 and targeted people using “port forwarding”. NordVPN’s was more recent, having occurred in 2018. In both cases, some users’ IP addresses were temporarily visible. Both companies responded quickly. 

Private Internet Access


Although neither VPN service has a perfect security record, NordVPN’s security breach was much more recent. The company has taken steps to resolve its issues, but it might be a little while before it can fully win back consumer trust. Therefore, Pure Internet Access wins this round.

Speed & servers

 

NordVPN

Private Internet Access

Number of servers

Over 5200

Over 3200

Countries

58

29

NordVPN and Private Internet Access are both very fast VPN providers. It’s not really possible to say which one is faster overall — this will depend on where you’re located, and where the internet resource you’re trying to access is hosted. Either VPN should be suitable for high-bandwidth activities, including torrenting.

The key difference between these providers is the number of servers that they each have. NordVPN has over 5200 VPN server locations — around 2000 more than Private Internet Access. This means that, on average, you’re more likely to get a fast and reliable download speed from NordVPN.

However — note that Private Internet Access has servers in fewer countries. This is because it concentrates its servers on northern-hemisphere regions such as North America and the EU. Therefore, if you live in one of these regions, you may get an equally good or better service from Private Internet Access.

NordVPN


Due to its greater number of servers, this round goes to NordVPN. However, you may want to check which provider has the greater number nearby before you decide which one gets your cash.

Privacy

NordVPN

Private Internet Access

Logs policy

No logs

No logs

User info required

Email address

Email address

Anonymous payment options

Cryptocurrencies, gift cards

Cryptocurrencies, gift cards

Home jurisdiction

Panama

United States

Before you start routing all your internet traffic through a VPN provider, you have to know that you can trust it. Unfortunately, some VPN providers are more trustworthy than others

Both Private Internet Access and NordVPN state that they do not store data about their users’ activity or connection history. 

We have reason to trust Private Internet Access’s logging policy. On two occasions, the FBI has requested that Private Internet Access hand over data about its users in relation to federal trials. On both occasions, Private Internet Access couldn’t help — they did have any data to hand over.

We can also trust NordVPN’s “no logs” policy as it has been audited by Swiss auditing firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers. This is good evidence that NordVPN does not store its users’ data.

Both providers support anonymous sign-ups, which further reduces the chance that your identity could be revealed. They do require an email address at sign-up, but they accept both anonymous payment methods such as Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Tie


Both VPN providers have taken positive steps to protect and defend their users’ privacy.

Content unblocking

NordVPN

Private Internet Access

Netflix

Yes

Yes

BBC

Yes

No

Amazon Prime Video

Yes

No

Hulu

Yes

Yes

You may wish to use your VPN to access websites and streaming services that are unavailable in your home country. Even among the best VPN providers, some are better at this than others, because Netflix and other online services work hard to block VPN users from accessing geo-restricted content. 

NordVPN is much better at unblocking content than Private Internet Access. Private Internet Access can provide fairly reliable access to Netflix across several different regions, but it can’t reliably unblock trickier platforms such as BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime.

NordVPN


When it comes to unblocking geo-restricted content, NordVPN wins hand down.

Our pick

Private Internet Access


Overall, Private Internet Access beats NordVPN in our head-to-head. 


While NordVPN certainly has advantages over NordVPN — such as better content unblocking capabilities and a larger number of servers — Private Internet Access delivers a highly secure and private service at a seriously good price.


But don’t forget that both VPN providers offer a money-back guarantee period. It might be worth trying both to determine which one is better for your needs.

NordVPN vs PureVPN

NordVPN vs PureVPN

NordVPN and PureVPN are two of the best VPN providers on the market. And the VPN market is highly competitive, with top brands all fighting to provide the fastest speeds, the most reliable connection, and the most effective security features.

Choosing a VPN provider can be daunting. It’s important to learn as much as you can about a VPN service —  and the company behind it — before you start routing all your internet traffic through its servers.

We put NordVPN and PureVPN head to head, to help you decide between these great products. This article will reveal which brand is best.

Pricing

 

NordVPN

PureVPN

1-month plan

$11.95 per month

$10.95 per month

1-year plan

$83.88 (equivalent to $6.99 per month)

$69.95 (equivalent to $5.83 per month)

2-year plan

$119.76 (equivalent to $4.99 per month)

$79.95 (equivalent to $3.33 per month)

3-year plan

$125.64 (equivalent to $3.49 per month)

N/A

Refund period

30 days

31 days

PureVPN is cheaper than NordVPN across all plans.

Both brands offer steep discounts for those who are willing to pay up-front for long-term subscriptions. Even on its three-year plan, however, NordVPN can’t beat the value offered by PureVPN on its two-year plan.

Those big discounts do require you to sign up to some pretty long subscription periods. But remember — NordVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee, and PureVPN has a 31-day money-back guarantee. There’s no risk involved in trying either product for the first month.

PureVPN


Both these VPN services provide excellent value for money, but PureVPN is cheaper and offers better discounts on its long-term plans.

Features

 

NordVPN

PureVPN

Connections

6

5

VPN apps — operating systems

Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire.

Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire.

Browser extensions

Chrome, Firefox.

Chrome, Firefox.

Manual install on routers

Yes

Yes

Split tunneling

No

No

Bonuses

CyberSec (anti-malware and ad blocker software)

Free anti-malware and ad-blocking software.

Although it’s more expensive, NordVPN offers more simultaneous connections. Users can enjoy up to six simultaneous connections on NordVPN, whereas PureVPN only allows users to connect up to five devices.

NordVPN and PureVPN both offer a great range of desktop and mobile apps. Both brands’ apps are very user-friendly and practically bug-free. There are Chrome and Firefox extensions available for both NordVPN and PureVPN, but neither company provides a Safari extension.

PureVPN allows “split tunneling,” so you can use your VPN connection and regular internet connection simultaneously across different apps. NordVPN and PureVPN both include free anti-malware/ad-blocker software, which is a nice bonus. 

PureVPN


There’s very little difference between these two brands in terms of features. However, PureVPN wins the round — purely because it allows split tunneling, whereas NordVPN does not..

Security

 

NordVPN

PureVPN

Protocols

OpenVPN with TCP/UDP, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP

OpenVPN with TCP/UDP, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, SSTP

Data/control-channel encryption

AES-256-CBC, RSA-2048 

AES-256-CBC, RSA-2048 

Killswitch

Yes

Yes

Both VPNs let users access a variety of VPN protocols, which provide different speeds and privacy levels. PureVPN offers access to a greater number of protocols — but some of these, namely PPTP and SSTP, are practically obsolete. Both NordVPN and PureVPN provide bullet-proof 256-bit encryption.

Both providers encrypt their “control channel,” which transmits potentially-revealing authentication data, to RSA 2048. This is fine, but it’s worth noting that other VPN providers, such as ExpressVPN, use a higher standard of control channel encryption — RSA 4096.

Both VPN products feature a “killswitch,” which will terminate your connection to the internet if your VPN connection drops. This stops you from accidentally exposing your online activity.

Neither brand has a perfect security record. In March 2018, IP address data was accessed on the PureVPN’s servers by a “white hat” hacker. In 2019, NordVPN suffered a high-profile breach when a hacker was able to access “true” user IP addresses on a server in Finland.

Tie


Both PureVPN and NordVPN are secure. However, at the top VPN market, customers expect the best possible encryption standards at every step, along with perfect reputations for protecting user data. Unfortunately, neither NordVPN or PureVPN are quite able to provide this.

Speed & servers

 

NordVPN

PureVPN

Servers

Over 5200

Over 2100

Countries

58

140+

Both NordVPN and PureVPN are very fast  We’re not going to declare one or the other to be the fastest because it’s just not that simple — dIfferent people will experience different speeds depending on their location and several other factors.

It’s more appropriate to measure the number of servers available with each brand. This can be an indicator of how likely the average person is to achieve fast speeds via the VPN — the closer a user is to a VPN server, the faster their connection should be.

NordVPN has over 5200 servers — more than double the amount of PureVPN. This means users in regions such as the United States or the United Kingdom are likely to have plenty of VPN servers nearby.

However, PureVPN offers servers across over 140 countries, which is nearly three times as many as NordVPN. This means that users in remote countries may want to check out PureVPN, as it might be able to provide a server closer to where they live.

NordVPN


NordVPN wins our “Speed & Servers” category because of the huge number of servers it offers. However, PureVPN is worth considering if you require a broader selection of virtual locations.

Privacy

NordVPN

PureVPN

Logging policy

None

None

User info required

Email address

Email address

Crypto payments accepted

Yes

Yes

Home jurisdiction

Panama

Hong Kong

We’ve looked at security, which concerns how well these brands keep your data safe. But remember — even if a VPN provider can protect your data from hackers and accidental data breaches, you also have to trust them not to intentionally share it.

VPNs should be able to provide some degree of anonymity. NordVPN and PureVPN both require you to provide only an email address at signup. It’s possible to pay for either service via Bitcoin, which reduces the possibility that you’ll be identified.

As far as we know, NordVPN does not log user data. This brand prides itself on privacy and has submitted to independent audits of its data protection practices.

PureVPN also claims to have a “no logs” policy. There was an incident in 2017, however, where PureVPN allegedly handed over user data to the FBI. This user data was later used as evidence in a criminal trial.

NordVPN is based in Panama. This is a privacy-respecting country that does not require private companies to keep records of their customers’ online activities. Therefore, you shouldn’t have to worry about NordVPN handing over your data to the state.

PureVPN is based in Hong Kong. Hong Kong also does not currently have any mandatory data retention laws. However, it is clear that Chinese influence is growing in Hong Kong, and so PureVPN may face an uncertain future in that region.

NordVPN


NordVPN is the clear winner of this round — the company has never compromised its users’ trust, and it is based in a country where mandatory data retention laws are unlikely to come into effect in the foreseeable future.

Content unblocking

 

NordVPN

PureVPN

Netflix

Yes

Yes

BBC

Yes

No

Amazon Prime Video

Yes

Yes

Hulu

Yes

Yes

A VPN lets you connect to servers all around the world, meaning that you can fool websites and online services into believing that you are physically located in another country. This means that you can, in theory, access any of the online content that is available to people in that country.


However, no VPN provider can guarantee uninterrupted access to any content in any country. They are restricted by the locations of their servers, and by the amount of work they’re willing to put in to try to get around streaming services’ attempts to block them.


NordVPN and PureVPN are both excellent at unblocking geo-restricted content. However, NordVPN is better, as it can consistently unblock a broader variety of content in a larger number of regions. PureVPN has some difficulties accessing certain services such as BBC iPlayer. 

NordVPN


NordVPN better at unblocking geo-restricted content, and so it’s a great option for fans of foreign TV shows — or those who have moved away from their home country. 

Our pick

NordVPN


NordVPN is the clear winner compared with PureVPN. While NordVPN is not perfect, it’s a truly excellent VPN provider, with an untarnished record on user privacy, excellent download speeds, and a huge number of servers.


However, PureVPN is still a great product. It’s one of the best value VPN providers available. If you’re simply looking for a low-cost VPN that does everything it should do, PureVPN is definitely worthy of your consideration.


You can try both of these VPN products with no risk attached — both NordVPN and PureVPN offer can a no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee period of 30 days and 31 days respectively.

ProtonVPN vs ExpressVPN

ProtonVPN vs ExpressVPN

ProtonVPN and ExpressVPN are right at the top of the VPN market. They both use advanced cybersecurity technology to keep their users' data safe. They both promise high-speed steaming and safe P2P sharing. And they both claim to be totally anonymous services that keep their users' online activity 100% private. 

They're both excellent VPN services. But which one is right for your needs? We’re putting ProtonVPN and ExpressVPN head-to-head to see how they match up.

Pricing

ProtonVPN Plus

ExpressVPN

1-month plan

$10 per month

$12.95 per month

6-month plan

N/A

$59.99 (equivalent to $9.99 per month)

1-year plan

$96 (equivalent to $8 per month)

$99.95 (equivalent to $8.32 per month)

Refund period

30 days

30 days

First, note that ProtonVPN has a number of different pricing plans available. We’re reviewing ProtonVPN Plus as it’s the best comparison to ExpressVPN. However, there are two cheaper options — ProtonVPN’s Basic plan and Free plan — which come with major restrictions. There’s also a more expensive option — ProtonVPN’s Visionary plan — which includes a ProtonMail account.

ProtonVPN and ExpressVPN are both quite expensive. There are plenty of cheaper VPNs, including Private Internet Access and PureVPN. However, ExpressVPN and ProtonVPN are both top-quality products.

ProtonVPN Premium is cheaper than ExpressVPN across both its monthly and one-year plans. ExpressVPN also offers a six-month plan, but ProtonVPN does not.

Both brands offer a 30-day money-back guarantee period, so you can try either of them with no risks attached.

ProtonVPN


Although it’s one of the more expensive VPNs on the market, ProtonVPN is cheaper than ExpressVPN, so it wins this round.

Features

ProtonVPN Plus

ExpressVPN

Simultaneous connections                                  

5

5

VPN apps — operating systems                                           

Windows, macOS, iOS, Android

Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire, various routers including ASUS, Linksys, and Netgear models

Browser extensions

None

Chrome, Firefox, Safari

Split tunneling

Windows and Android only                                                                        

Desktop only

ExpressVPN


ExpressVPN wins this round because it provides apps and browser extension that make using the product a much more user-friendly experience.

Security

ProtonVPN

ExpressVPN

Protocols

OpenVPN with TCP/UDP,

OpenVPN with TCP/UDP, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP.

Data/control-channel encryption

AES-256-CBC, RSA-2048

AES-256-CBC, RSA-4096

Killswitch

Yes (except iOS)

Yes

ProtonVPN only provides access to the OpenVPN protocol. This is the best protocol for most purposes, but it’s unusual for a VPN provider to be restrictive in this way. ExpressVPN allows several alternative protocols, such as IKEv2, L2TP, and PPTP.

Security is one of ProtonVPN’s main selling points. It’s an extremely strong brand, created by a team of Swiss cybersecurity experts working at CERN in Switzerland. However, it’s worth noting that ProtonVPN doesn’t have any obvious security advantages over ExpressVPN. 

For example, both brands use “military-grade” 256-bit encryption to keep their users’ data secure. And in fact, ExpressVPN actually uses a higher-grade of control channel encryption.

One interesting security feature of ProtonVPN is its “Secure Core” technology, which repeatedly passes network traffic through several VPN servers. Each time user data passes through a server it goes through another round of encryption and becomes more secure.

Both VPNs feature a “killswitch.” This protects you from accidentally revealing your IP address or browsing activity if your VPN connection fails. ProtonVPN’s killswitch doesn’t work on its iOS app.

Tie


ExpressVPN has super-high grade control channel encryption, ProtonVPN has its “Secure Core” VPN technology — both of these VPNs offer cast-iron security.

Speed & servers

ProtonVPN

ExpressVPN

Servers

Over 630

Over 3000

Countries

44

94

It’s really hard to judge a VPN provider’s “overall” speed because it varies so much depending on the location of the user, the VPN server, and the internet resource that the user wants to access. 

But when we look at the number of servers a VPN has, and where those servers are located, this can give us an idea of how likely it is that the average person will get a fast, reliable connection.

ProtonVPN has very few servers compared to most VPN providers, located across a small variety of countries. ExpressVPN has nearly 5x more servers across more than double the number of countries.

Now, like some other smaller providers, ProtonVPN can provide pretty good connection speeds even with relatively few server locations. However, the difference here is particularly stark, and we’ve found that ExpressVPN does outperform ProtonVPN in most circumstances.

To be fair to ProtonVPN — it is still fast, and it’s adding more servers all the time. However, it can’t beat ExpressVPN on speed and server availability.

ExpressVPN


Express VPN has more servers in more places. This translates into faster connections speeds for the majority of users, so ExpressVPN beats ProtonVPN in this round.

Privacy

ProtonVPN

ExpressVPN

                    Logging policy                                                        

                            No logs                                                                   

Logs certain data about the apps you use and the servers you connect to

User info required

          Email address            

Email address

Anonymous payment options

Bitcoin

Cryptocurrencies, gift cards

Home jurisdiction

Switzerland

British Virgin Islands (BVI)

Privacy is another one of ProtonVPN’s big marketing angles. The company behind ProtonVPN also has an email product, ProtonMail, which was created to provide anonymity and privacy for journalists and political activists. 

It’s very important for many VPN users that their identity and internet activity will never be revealed. Certain VPNs, such as Hotspot Shield and PureVPN, have been accused of logging their users’ data and sharing it with third parties.

Both ProtonVPN and ExpressVPN are truly private VPN providers. ExpressVPN does log certain aggregate data for debugging purposes. However, both VPN providers have no-log policies that appear to be watertight.

It’s also possible to sign up to both VPN services anonymously by paying via Bitcoin rather than using a credit card or PayPal. ExpressVPN also accepts several other cryptocurrencies and gift cards for some popular stores.

Tie


Against virtually any other VPN provider, ProtonVPN would probably win our “Privacy” round. However, ExpressVPN’s superb privacy practices easily match up to those of ProtonVPN.

Content unblocking

ProtonVPN

ExpressVPN

Netflix

Yes

Yes

BBC

No

Yes

Amazon Prime Video

No

Yes

Hulu

Yes

Yes

You may know that VPNs can be used to bypass internet censorship and access online content that is blocked in your home country. This might mean getting around China’s “Great Firewall” — or it might simply mean watching US Netflix from Australia.

When it comes to unblocking geo-restricted content, not all VPN providers are created equal. ProtonVPN can unblock Netflix and Hulu in several regions, but that’s pretty much it.

ExpressVPN is easily one of the best VPN services for unblocking content. It breaks through Netflix and Hulu’s defenses across numerous countries, plus Amazon Prime video and even the tougher-to-crack streaming services such as BBC iPlayer.

ExpressVPN


ExpressVPN wins hands down for content-unblocking. It’s easily one of the best VPNs available for watching geographically-restricted streaming services and viewing censored web content

Our pick

ExpressVPN


ExpressVPN emerges as the clear winner of its side-by-side comparison with ProtonVPN.


ProtonVPN is still a great project, and its dedication to privacy and security is admirable. These are extremely important qualities for a VPN, and it’s shocking how certain other VPN providers neglect them. However, ExpressVPN is great on these fronts, too — and it combines its secure, private technology with an extremely fast, user-friendly experience. In some ways, such as control channel encryption, ExpressVPN is even more secure than ProtonVPN.


But please remember — different VPN providers serve different needs. If you want to try ExpressVPN and/or ProtonVPN, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee available on both products.

Private Internet Access vs PureVPN

Private Internet Access vs Pure VPN

Private Internet Access (also called “PIA”) and PureVPN are both big names in the world of cybersecurity. They promise users total privacy, fast connection speeds, and strong data security. There’s a huge variation in quality between VPN providers, but at the very top of the market — where both these brands sit — the differences become technical and complicated.

Struggling to pick a VPN provider? Read our side-by-side comparison of Private Internet Access and PureVPN to help you choose. 

Pricing


 

Private Internet Access

PureVPN

1-month plan

$9.95 per month

$10.95 per month

6-month plan

$35.95 (equivalent to $5.99 per month)

N/A

1-year plan

$39.95 (equivalent to $3.33 per month)

$69.95 (equivalent to $5.83 per month)

2-year plan

N/A

$79.95 (equivalent to $3.33 per month)

Refund period

7 days

31 days

VPN providers typically offer some impressive discounts to users who are willing to sign up to a long-term subscription. They ask potential customers for a little extra commitment in exchange for a lower price.

First off, it’s clear that Private Internet Access is cheaper than PureVPN. The difference is particularly stark when we look in detail at each provider’s plans. There’s a difference in the types of plans that these two brands offer. Private Internet Access has a six-month plan, whereas PureVPN doesn’t. PureVPN has a two-year plan whereas Private Internet Access doesn’t.

However, PureVPN’s two-year plan works out at the the same price per month as Private Internet Access’s one-year plan. So the benefit of making this longer-term commitment is lost when comparing the two brands.

It’s worth noting that the “commitment” involved in signing up to these longer-term plans only applies after the money-back guarantee period. This period is 31 days in the case of PureVPN but only 7 days in the case of Private Internet Access. 

Private Internet Access


Private Internet Access is cheaper than PureVPN across all plans. Even though PureVPN offers a big discount on its two-year plan, it simply can’t beat Private Internet Access on price.

Features


 

Private Internet Access

PureVPN

Connections

5

5

VPN apps — operating systems

Windows, macOS, iOS, Android

Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire

Browser extensions

Chrome, Firefox, Opera

Chrome, Firefox

Split tunneling

No

Yes

Bonuses

Free anti-malware and ad blocking software.

Free anti-malware and ad blocking software.

Private Internet Access lets users add up to 10 simultaneous connections on one account — twice as many at PureVPN.

Both VPN providers provide apps for PC, Mac, and mobile. PureVPN offers apps for Linux and Amazon Fire, while Private Internet Access users will have to install the app manually if they want to use it on these platforms (don’t worry — it’s not too complicated).

Both of these brands provide browser extensions/add-ons for convenient access when browsing the internet. Both providers offer Chrome and Firefox extensions, and Private Internet Access offers an Opera extension, too.

“Split tunneling” is possible on PureVPN, but not on Private Internet Access. This feature lets you use your VPN for certain activities and your regular internet connection for others. Both Private Internet Access and PureVPN also provide bonus anti-malware and ad-blocker software.

PureVPN


PureVPN wins this round, due to its wider range of easy-to-use desktop and mobile apps and its split tunneling feature. However, if you have more than five devices on which you want to use your VPN, consider Private Internet Access instead.​​​​

Security


 

Private Internet Access

PureVPN

Protocols

OpenVPN with TCP/UDP, L2TP/IPSec, PTPP.

OpenVPN with TCP/UDP, IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, PPTP, SSTP

Data/control-channel encryption

AES-256-CBC, RSA-4096

AES-256-CBC, RSA-2048 

Killswitch

Yes

Yes

VPN providers allow users to connect to a variety of protocols. The most common (and most secure) is OpenVPN,  but others can offer advantages in terms of speed and compatibility.

In terms of which protocols are available, Private Internet Access is actually quite limited. Its desktop apps only allow easy access to the OpenVPN protocol. It’s possible to connect via L2TP or PPTP, but only manually. Both brands use powerful 256-bit encryption.

On the OpenVPN protocol, Private Internet Access offers a higher grade of “control channel” encryption than PureVPN. However, this is very unlikely to be an issue for PureVPN users, as the RSA-2048 algorithm is still highly secure.

Both Private Internet Access and PureVPN feature a “killswitch.” This cuts off your connection automatically if your VPN drops out — preventing you from accidentally revealing your IP address or online activity.

Private Internet Access did suffer a security incident in 2015. Certain users’ IP addresses were vulnerable if they used port forwarding. The issue was quickly resolved. Similarly, in March 2018 a hacker infiltrated PureVPN’s server and found they could view customers’ IP addresses. Again, PureVPN responded quickly to this incident.

Private Internet Access


Like many VPN providers, both Private Internet Access and PureVPN have had minor security incidents in the past. However, Private Internet Access’s leak occurred a long time ago, and it also offers a higher grade of control channel encryption, so it wins this round.

Speed & servers


 

Private Internet Access

PureVPN

Number of servers

Over 3200

Over 2100

Countries

29

140+

First, it’s important to note that both of these VPN providers are fast. There’s not much point saying which is “fastest,” because there are too many variables — these are two of the best VPNs around, and most people will achieve good upload and download speeds with either of them.

However, there is an important difference between the two providers. Private Internet Access has servers in relatively few countries, but it has a lot of servers. With PureVPN, the reverse is true.

Why does this matter? Well, if you live in the US, the EU, or any region with plenty of Private Internet Access servers, you’re likely to get a better service from Private Internet Access. If you live in a southern-hemisphere country which has PureVPN has servers present or nearby, you might be better off with PureVPN.

Tie


There’s no way to make an overall judgment about which VPN is better in this category — both have their advantages and disadvantages depending on where you live. You should be able to use either provider for high-bandwidth activities like streaming and torrenting.

Privacy


 

Private Internet Access

PureVPN

Logs policy

None

None

User info required

Email address

Email address

Anonymous payment methods

Cryptocurrencies, gift cards

Cryptocurrencies, gift cards

Home jurisdiction

United States

Hong Kong

VPN users need to be able to trust their VPN provider. In theory, a malicious VPN provider could have access to a lot of private data about who you are and what you do online. That’s why we expect a VPN provider to take steps to ensure total privacy.

Private Internet Access and PureVPN both claim not to keep records of their users’ browsing history or connection activity. This means any data about what you’re doing, and where you’re doing it, is not available to them or anyone else.

Interestingly, both companies have been tested on this. The FBI has requested information about their users’ online activity in relation to separate court cases. The responses revealed a lot about these VPN providers’ logging policies.

The FBI requested user data from Private Internet Access on two occasions. The company simply did not have any data to submit to the FBI — which proves that Private Internet Access’s “no logs” policy is genuine.

The FBI requested user data from PureVPN in 2017. PureVPN did provide logs of the user’s IP address and connection activity. This data was used as evidence in a “cyberstalking” case. PureVPN has since amended its Privacy Policy.

Private Internet Access


Private Internet Access has passed the ultimate privacy test twice now, and so it has proved itself to be a more private VPN service than PureVPN.

Content unblocking


 

Private Internet Access

PureVPN

Netflix

Yes

Yes

BBC

No

No

Amazon Prime Video

No

Yes

Hulu

Yes

Yes

Good content-unblocking capabilities are important if you want to use your VPN to access geo-restricted online content.

By connecting to a VPN server in another country, you can, theory, access any of the content available to people who live there. This means, for example, UK VPN users can access US Netflix.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple — Netflix and other streaming services tend to block IP addresses associated with VPN providers. Some VPN services are better at getting around this than others.

PureVPN is the superior VPN provider for accessing streaming services. Although it struggles with BBC iPlayer, it easily unblocks Netflix content across several regions. In this area, Private Internet Access is not as good as PureVPN --  or several of its other competitors, such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN.

PureVPN


PureVPN wins this round — it’s simply better at unblocking geo-restricted content than Private Internet Access.

Our pick

Private Internet Access


Private Internet Access beats PureVPN in our head-to-head in almost every category. However, it was a close contest in certain areas, and some people may be better off with PureVPN.


For example, Private Internet Access is one of the most private VPNs available. But if you’re primarily interested in streaming geo-restricted content, PureVPN is a better choice.


Remember — both VPN providers offer a risk-free money-back guarantee if you want to try them before committing.