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
In order to find which VPN takes the lead, we have compared both PIA and IPVanish on a few performance factors. Here is a brief overview of the criteria on which both PIA and IPVanish had to fight on:
Here’s a summary of the key capabilities of IPVanish vs PIA:
|Logging Policy||No traffic logs||No traffic logs|
|Speed||24.86 Mbps||21.4 Mbps|
|Server Network||1,600+ servers|
|Customer Support||Live chat||Email/form based|
You can find more detailed comparisons for 60+ providers in this VPN Comparison spreadsheet.
PIA vs IPVanish: Detailed Comparison
Here is the detailed comparison between IPVanish and Private Internet Access:
1. Jurisdiction: PIA vs IPVanish
Result: Both PIA and IPVanish are located in the USA that is a member of the Five Eyes Alliance.
When selecting a VPN, Jurisdiction is an important factor to consider, because it highly impacts a VPNs logging policy and security. Unfortunately, both PIA and IPVanish are headquartered in an unsafe jurisdiction of the USA.
(Five Eyes – Unsafe)
(Five Eyes – Unsafe)
2. Pricing Plans
Result: IPVanish is slightly cheaper than PIA, but PIA offers a better refund policy and payment options. Also, both providers offer the same length of the refund period.
|Money-back Guarantee||30 days||30 days|
|Get IPVanish||Get PIA|
PIA Price – The 1-year subscription is the best PIA deal as it costs $3.33/mo. However, its cheapest plan is of two years costing around $2.69/ mo.
IPVanish Price – On the other hand, the cheapest plan offered by IPVanish is the 1-year deal that costs $44.99/year. You can also opt for its VPN + Storage deal that is the best value for money costing around $49.99/year.
Payment Method and Refund Policy
|Credit Cards||Credit Cards|
|Does not accept Mint||Mint|
IPVanish Payment Options & Refund – IPVanish only accepts PayPal and Credit Cards. You cannot buy IPVanish with cryptocurrency.
It does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee but it comes with an exception. The exception is “monthly customers do not qualify” for the refund. PIA on the other hand has no exceptions.
PIA Payment Options & Refund – In comparison to IPVanish, PIA accepts multiple payment methods both anonymous and non-anonymous. You can also get PIA with bitcoin, mint, and other cryptocurrencies. Just like IPVanish, PIA also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can cancel PIA anytime.
3. Logging Policy: IPVanish vs PIA
|Headquarter||USA (unsafe)||USA (unsafe)|
The United States of America 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.
Jurisdiction is very important when you are deciding on a VPN for yourself. For example, you wouldn’t want to purchase any of them, because they both are operating from the US and your online privacy and data will always remain at risk.
Even though PIA is a more competitive VPN provider than IPvanish on so many levels with a top-tier VPN provider like ExpressVPN, due to its jurisdiction, it is still not a favorite. Check out how it performs against top-tier VPN in ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access comparison.
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. To know more about VPN services’ logging policies, read this dedicated guide.
4. Servers in Countries
Result: PIA has 35,912+ servers in 77 countries as compared to IPVanish which has a much smaller server count of 1,600+ but covers 75+ locations.
IPVanish Server Network – IPVanish offers around 1600+ servers in 75+ locations. It has a small server network when compared to PIA but it has servers in all major locations.
PIA Server Network – PIA offers around 35,912+ servers in 77 countries. It has one of the largest server networks in the entire VPN industry. It has servers in almost all countries.
5. Speed Test: PIA or IPVanish
Result: 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.
|US: 24.91 Mbps||US: 19.23 Mbps|
|UK: 24.46 Mbps||UK: 25.4 Mbps|
|GER: 25.16 Mbps||Germany: 22.25 Mbps|
|AUS: 24.96 Mbps||Australia: 18.4 Mbps|
|Avg. Download: 24.86 Mbps||Avg. Download: 21.39 Mbps|
IPVanish delivers a 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.
Speed Test #1: IPVanish vs PIA US server
On its US server, IPVanish delivered a download speed of 24.91 Mbps with very low pings of about 12 ms.
Similarly, PIA offered a speed of 19.23 Mbps on its US server, which was a lot slower than IPVanish.
Speed Test #2: IPVanish vs PIA UK server
IPVanish delivered a speed of 24.62 Mbps on its UK server with pings coming in at about 115 ms.
PIA on the other hand managed a download speed of 25.4 Mbps and a very high upload speed of 29.7 Mbps. Similarly, pings were a lot high at 226 ms.
This shows that IPVanish is not only slightly faster on average but offers better consistency across different server locations owing to its WireGuard protocol. Other VPNs like NordVPN and TorGuard also support this VPN protocol as it offers high-speed connections and low latency. This was also the case in NordVPN and PureVPN, with NordVPN offering faster connection speeds on WireGuard protocol.
6. Security Features: IPVanish vs PIA VPN
Result: Private Internet Access and IPvanish use similar security features to protect users from online threats.
|Protocols Supported||OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, IKEv2||OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP|
|App Security||Kill switch||Kill switch|
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.
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.
7. App Usability and Interface: PIA vs IPVanish
Result: Both VPNs have appealing and highly usable apps.
|One click installation setup||Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS||Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS|
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.
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.
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.
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.
8. Device Compatibility – PIA or IPVanish
Result: Both VPN services offer excellent extra features for enhanced privacy and are compatible with most platforms.
|Split Tunneling||Android only||No|
|Simultaneous Connections||unlimited connections||10|
|Extra Features||None||Ad and malware blocker|
|Browser Extensions||None||Chrome, Firefox, Opera|
|OS Support||Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Fire TV||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS|
Private Internet Access: 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. PIA also has 10 multi-logins, which is quite impressive.
IPVanish: IPVanish also offers apps for various devices including Linux, Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Fire TV, etc. However, it doesn’t offer browser extensions or addons. But you can easily download IPVanish on various devices including Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and more. Similarly, you can also use IPVanish on Kodi which not most VPNs offer. The biggest advantage of IPVanish is that you can connect unlimited devices simultaneously.
As such, PIA and IPVanish are both quite capable from the security standpoint and offer several interesting extra features. As proof of IPVanish’s capabilities, you can also check out our PureVPN vs. IPVanish performance comparison for more details.
9. Unblocking Strength
Result: PIA and IPVanish are not streaming-optimized VPNs and are unable to unblock most streaming services. But if we compare both services, IPVanish is a little better at unblocking than PIA.
|Amazon Prime Video||No||No|
PIA Streaming Test:
During our testing, we managed to stream Netflix US with PIA but it was a hit and miss scenario because we had to test multiple servers before it worked. On most PIA – US servers we got the Netflix proxy error. Therefore, if you want to use PIA for Netflix you will have to try multiple servers to find the ones that work.
Similarly, PIA does not work with other restricted streaming platforms like Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer. This was similar to what we got in our PureVPN and PIA comparison where PIA could not unblock geo-restricted streaming platforms.
IPVanish Streaming Test:
Just like PIA, IPVanish also does not work with Netflix US. However, during testing, it did unblock Netflix US on its American server but we had to try multiple servers.
Similarly, IPVanish does not work with other popular streaming platforms like BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime Video. We tried it with BBC iPlayer and it wasn’t able to bypass geo-restrictions. However, it did manage to unblock HBO on its US server.
As such, both VPNs are not very suitable for unblocking SVoD services. This was also seen in TunnelBear vs Private Internet Access where PIA only managed to unblock Netflix US after numerous tries.
Chinese Restrictions: IPVanish vs PIA
China is one of the countries that have imposed strong censorship and internet restrictions on its citizens. Owing to these restrictions, not many premium VPNs can bypass the Great Firewall of China. Let’s test if PIA and IPVanish are a good options for Chinese users:
IPVanish does not work in China anymore even with its obfuscation technology. Users on Reddit are complaining that IPVanish does not work in China as it cannot help bypass internet restrictions and censorship. However, it does offer multiple Chinese servers so you can use it to access Chinese websites and content from abroad.
PIA does work in China, but you will need to manually configure it on your devices. Even then, it is not a reliable option for Chinese users because it is headquartered in the US. Similarly, when you try to connect PIA in China, it tells you to switch from OpenVPN protocol to L2TP/IPSec which is not a secure option.
Similarly, it doesn’t work with most streaming services so that makes it not a good choice for Chinese users because you won’t be able to bypass restrictions.
10. Torrenting: IPVanish vs Private Internet Access
Result: PIA and IPVanish both can unblock torrenting websites and are secure enough to allow safe downloading of p2p files.
P2P file-sharing has become quite popular because of its convenience. However, its legality varies from region to region. Most countries don’t allow torrenting as it is considered illegal due to copyright infringement. Therefore, for P2P file-sharing, it is recommended to use a VPN.
Both PIA and IPVanish allow torrenting and P2P on most of their servers. Both VPNs offer a SOCKS5 proxy that supports P2P torrent clients and HHTP traffic to keep you safe while torrenting.
However, both of these services are located in the 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.
11. Customer Support: PIA vs IPVanish
Result: 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.
IPVanish offers live chat support that is very efficient. It also has a customer support library that has a lot of information, but you can also use the live chat feature to get instant help from the customer support team. We tried its live chat feature and got an instant response from their team and it was not automated.
PIA does not offer live chat support but has a ticketing system where users can create a ticket if they don’t find help on their support library.
Yes, you can use PIA for Netflix, but it only works with Netflix US and you will have to test a few servers before finding the one that actually works with Netflix.
When you are using a VPN, it encrypts your traffic and reroutes it from a VPN server of your choice. Therefore, you might experience a slight decrease in speed. During our testing, we found out that IPVanish was faster than PIA.
The main difference between free and paid VPNs is that free VPNs offer limited servers and have more traffic leading to extremely slow speeds. It also leads to constant connection drops and poor connection. Whereas, paid VPNs on the other hand offer thousands of servers thus leading to better connections and faster speeds.
Another difference between paid and free VPNs is that free VPNs don’t protect your privacy and sell your user data to third-party advertisers. Paid VPNs on the other hand follow a no-log policy and don’t log any kind of user information.
Final Verdict: IPVanish is the Winner
IPVanish is the winner!
IPVanish is better than PIA in terms of performance, and customer support. Moreover, it has better speed on average and that is 24.86 Mbps. Also, the provider has a 1,600+ server spread in 75+ locations.
- Logging Policy: It maintains a zero logs policy
- Encryption: Military-grade encryption
- Price: $3.74/ month
However, both PIA and IPVanish are almost equally good, and deciding a winner 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.