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:
|Logging Policy||No traffic logs||No traffic logs|
|Speed||24.86 Mbps||21.4 Mbps|
|Server Network||1,300+ servers|
|Customer Support||Live chat||Email/form based|
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.
|Regular Plans||1 month: $10.00/mo|
1 year: $6.49/mo
2 year: $4.12/mo
|Cheapest Plan||2-year deal (66% off)||1-year deal (67% off)|
|Money-back Guarantee||7 days||7 days|
|Payment methods||Credit cards, PayPal||Credit 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
|Headquarter||USA (unsafe)||USA (unsafe)|
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.
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.
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.
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: 24.63 Mbps||US: 19.16 Mbps|
|UK: 24.69 Mbps||UK: 25.78 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 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.
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.
|Protocols Supported||OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, IKEv2||OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP|
|App Security||Kill switch||Kill 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.
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.
|One click installation setup||Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS||Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS|
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.
|Split Tunneling||Android only||No|
|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|
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.
PIA and IPVanish are not streaming-optimized VPNs and are unable to unblock most streaming services.
|Amazon Prime Video||No||No|
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.
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, 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.