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IPVanish vs PIA

Winner: IPVanish

IPVanish and PIA are two of the most widely recognized brands in the VPN industry. But which one of them is better?

PIA vs IPVanish: Head to Head Comparison

IPVanish is the winner!

IPVanish is better than PIA in terms of speed, customer support, and performance. IPVanish has better speed that is 24.86 Mbps on average. Also the provider has a better server spread in 75+ locations.

That’s why I found that IPVanish wins this contest but with slight margin!

Here’s a summary of the key capabilities of IPVanish vs PIA:

FactorsIPVanishPIA
JurisdictionUSAUSA
Logging PolicyNo traffic logsNo traffic logs
Pricing$4.12/mo$3.33/mo
Speed24.86 Mbps21.4 Mbps
Server Network1,300+ servers
75+ locations
3,266+ servers
29 countries
Customer SupportLive chatEmail/form based
query submissions
TorrentingSupportedSupported
Netflix UnblockingInconsistentInconsistent
SecurityStrongStrong
WebsiteIPVanishPIA VPN

You can find more detailed comparisons for 60+ providers in this VPN Comparison spreadsheet.

 

Pricing, payment methods, and refund policy

PIA is cheaper than IPVanish, but both providers offer the same length of refund period. The 1-year subscription is the best PIA deal as it costs $3.33/mo. On the other hand, the cheapest plan offered by IPVanish is the 2-year deal that cots $4.12/mo.

IPVanishPIA
Regular Plans1 month: $10.00/mo

1 year: $6.49/mo

2 year: $4.12/mo

1-month: $9.95/mo

6-month: $5.99/mo

1-year: $3.33/mo

Cheapest Plan2-year deal (66% off)1-year deal (67% off)
Special OffersNoneNone
Money-back Guarantee7 days7 days
Payment methodsCredit cards, PayPalCredit cards, PayPal, Bitcoins, Gift cards

The commonality between the two providers is that they both offer 7-day money-back guarantee on all their packages. In addition, IPVanish only accepts PayPal and credit cards whereas PIA also accepts Bitcoins.

The cheaper pricing overall gives PIA an edge over IPVanish in this round. So, the winner is PIA as far as pricing is concerned.

 

Privacy & Data Logging

Both providers are based in US and have similar logging polices. Neither IPVanish nor PIA keeps traffic or activity logs of users, but their privacy policy doesn’t specifically declares which user-related details they’re keeping logs of.

IPVanishPIA
HeadquarterUSA (unsafe)USA (unsafe)
Activity LogsNoNo
Connection LogsNoUnspecified
Anonymous PaymentYesYes

Since USA is part of the Five Eyes alliance and domestic surveillance conducted covertly by agencies is pretty much routine in the country, it’s hard to trust VPNs based in US jurisdiction. However, as long as the providers aren’t storing any logs for extended periods of time, you’ll be safe from government surveillance and unauthorized monitoring.

 

Server Network

PIA has a 3,266+ servers in 29 countries as compared to IPVanish which has a much smaller server count of 1,300+ but covers 75+ locations.

IPVanishPIA
Countries75+29
Servers1,300+3,266+

As such, PIA continues its lead against IPVanish with a larger server infrastructure. See the table below to see all the server locations covered by IPVanish and PIA.

 

Speed

IPVanish is faster than PIA on average. The speed of both providers was measured with Ookla’s speed test tool using four different server locations on a base internet connection of 30 Mbps. In this test, IPVanish’s average speed test was 24.86 Mbps whereas as that of PIA was 21.39 Mbps.

IPVanishPIA VPN
 US: 24.63 MbpsUS: 19.16 Mbps
UK: 24.69 MbpsUK: 25.78 Mbps
GER: 25.16 MbpsGermany: 22.25 Mbps
AUS: 24.96 MbpsAustralia: 18.4 Mbps
Avg. Download: 24.86 MbpsAvg. Download: 21.39 Mbps

IPVanish delivers faster average download speed as compared to PIA, but the difference is not that significant. However, the variance in download speed across different PIA servers is higher than that measured for IPVanish.

This shows that IPVanish is not only slightly faster on average but offers better consistency across different server locations.

 

Security

Private Internet Access and IPvanish use similar security features to protect users from online threats. The encryption offered by both is AES-256 while they both support OpenVPN, L2TP, and PPTP. IPVanish goes a step further than PIA and also offers IKEv2 protocol in addition to the aforementioned.

IPVanishPIA
EncryptionAES-256AES-256
Protocols SupportedOpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, IKEv2OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP
RSA KeysRSA-2048RSA-2048
App SecurityKill switchKill switch

Both providers offer kill switch in their apps which ensures that your online activities remain hidden from the view of third parties even when a disconnection occurs. The kill switch steps in and cuts off your connection entirely until the VPN is back, thus keeping you safe from online hazards.

Therefore, this round is a tie.

IPVanish-settings

PIA-settings-menu

 

App Usability and Interface

Both VPNs have appealing and highly usable apps. PIA’s desktop apps have a basic and unrefined look and feel, but it works well for the most part. The PIA VPN client resides in a corner on the taskbar and by right-clicking it you can connect or disconnect the VPN to servers.

IPVanishPIA
One click installation setupAndroid, iOS, Windows, MacOSAndroid, iOS, Windows, MacOS
Configurable settingsYesYes
Overall usabilityEasyEasy
Browser ExtensionsNoYes

However, the PIA Windows app usually takes a while to successfully connect to a VPN, but this is not that big of a problem.

IPVanish has a very appealing app that is easy to use, despite the fairly high configurability of its apps. You can connect to servers directly from the main menu screen and choose servers by country and cities. The protocols can also be changed from Settings, much like PIA.

Both providers have great mobile apps, especially PIA which features a much more refined and streamlined mobile as compared to its desktop apps. However, some of the advanced features and settings are missing in the mobile version of these VPNs. For instance, IPVanish only supports OpenVPN on its Android app.

Overall, both provider have remarkably good app usability and interfaces.

 

Features & Compatibility

Both VPN services offer excellent extra features for enhanced privacy and are compatible with most platforms. IPVanish has a built-in kill switch and also uses obfuscation to allow functionality in countries with strict restrictions on VPN usages. This is particularly useful for users in regions like Russia, Saudi Arabia etc.

IPVanishPIA
KillswitchYesYes
Split TunnelingAndroid onlyNo
Simultaneous Connections1010
Extra FeaturesNoneAd and malware blocker
Browser ExtensionsNoneChrome, Firefox, Opera
OS SupportWindows, MacOS. Android, iOS, Fire TVWindows, Mac, Android, iOS

PIA also offers valuable extra features such as MACE, which is an ad/malware blocker. In addition, both VPNs are compatible with popular operating systems and devices. PIA also has browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Opera. Both of these VPNs have 10 multi-logins, which is quite impressive.

As such, PIA and IPVanish are both quite capable from the security standpoint and offer several interesting extra features.

 

Unblocking Strength

PIA and IPVanish are not streaming-optimized VPNs and are unable to unblock most streaming services.

IPVanishPIA
NetflixNoNo
HuluNoUS, Japan
BBC iPlayerNoNo
Amazon Prime VideoNoNo
Sky GoYesYes
CBSYesYes

Neither of these VPNs work with Netflix, BBC iPlayer, or Amazon Prime. However, they do work with services that have less powerful VPN-blocking technology, such as CBS and Sky Go. Among the more popular streaming apps, PIA works with Hulu.

As such, both VPNs are not very suitable for unblocking SVoD services.

 

Torrents & P2P File-sharing

PIA and IPVanish both can unblock torrenting websites and are secure enough to allow safe downloading of p2p files. However, both of these services are located in USA, which is a country with the toughest anti-piracy laws. This can be an unnerving fact. So, to be completely safe, you might want to err on the side of caution and go for specialized VPNs for torrenting.

Disclaimer: We do not encourage nor condone the use of VPNs to engage in illegal activities including copyright infringement.

 

Customer Support

IPVanish offers live chat support, whereas PIA only uses the email ticketing system for resolving complaints. This is disappointing on the part of PIA, since it is probably the only popular VPN brand that doesn’t have live chat support.

IPVanishPIA
Live ChatYesNo
Email SupportYesYes
Tutorials/Setup GuidesYesYes

IPVanish, on the other hand, has a competent support staff that is easily reachable through live chat.

Therefore, IPVanish wins this round.

 

Availability in China

Both providers are unreliable within China. The Great Firewall of China has gotten the better of both VPNs, rendering them unable to pass through VPN filtering technologies in the mainland.

Therefore, you can’t rely on PIA or IPVanish if you need a VPN that works within China. See this article on VPNs in China instead.

 

Final Verdict: IPVanish is the Winner

IPVanish is only slightly better than PIA in terms of speed, customer support, and performance. However, both PIA and IPVanish are almost equally good and deciding a winner between is a matter of personal preference rather than objective fact.

In fact, PIA is almost half the price of IPVanish, which it might be a better option if you’re on a budget. All in all, both of these VPNs are reasonably good, but neither are the very best that the industry has to offer.

To find out more about each of these VPNs, you can see IPVanish review along with PIA review.

 

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