There are hundreds of VPN services available in the market, so choosing the best VPN is not so easy. Today, we bring you a comparison of IPVanish vs NordVPN vs Private Internet Access to help you decide which VPN is worth it.
These three providers are quite popular in the industry and known for their performance and services overall. However, each provider has its own pros and cons. The only way to figure out which VPN is the best is to test the providers extensively.
Worry not, as we have done the lengthy work for you. Here’s a detailed VPN comparison of IPVanish vs NordVPN vs Private Internet Access on various criteria like price, speed, unblocking ability, servers, apps, and more.
Brief Overview – Which VPN is the Best?
To help you choose the best VPN, we have conducted an in-depth comparison of IPVanish vs NordVPN vs Private Internet Access. Here is a brief overview of each provider.
🏆 Short on time? Well, NordVPN is a clear winner of this battle between IPVanish, NordVPN, and Private Internet Access. PIA and IPVanish are runner-ups.
IPVanish is a feature-rich VPN that offers great overall performance. It offers support for unlimited simultaneous connections and offers a kill switch, port forwarding, scramble feature, and military-grade encryption. You can check out more details in our IPVanish review.
NordVPN is the best VPN known for privacy and a large server network. It is the best VPN for streaming, torrenting, gaming, and more. NordVPN works with all popular geo-restricted streaming services such as BBC iPlayer, Disney+, Netflix, and more. You can check out more details in our NordVPN review.
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access is one of the cheapest VPNs available and offers good value for money. It works with popular streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu. PIA VPN also offers a massive server network, making it a great choice.
The table below shows a side-by-side comparison of the prices of all three providers.
|Free Trial||x||7-day trial||x|
NordVPN offers a 7-day free trial for Android and iOS users, while IPVanish and Private Internet Access are not currently offering any free trial offers.
Private Internet Access is a budget-friendly option as its 2-year plan is available for just $2.03/month. However, you will have to commit to a 2-years plan. NordVPN, on the other hand, offers a tremendous 2-year plan which is available for $5.29/mo.
IPVanish does not have any long-term plans, as its longest plan is the 1-year plan available for $3.99/month. All these providers offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try them without any risks, and get a refund.
Winner: Private Internet Access is a cheap VPN that is only available for $2.03/month for its 2-year plan. So, it offers the maximum value and savings.
IPVanish Vs NordVPN Vs Private Internet Access – Speed Test
When you use a VPN, your speed decreases naturally due to encryption. However, if you are using the best VPN, you should only experience a speed drop of about 30%.
What Affects Your Internet Speed While Using a VPN?
There are various factors that affect the internet speed while you use a VPN. Here are some key factors that affect your VPN speed:
- Connection speed. Your Wi-Fi speed plays an important role in determining your internet speed. If your connection speed is fast, you will not experience any drastic results.
- Bandwidth throttling. ISPs throttle the bandwidth of their users to avoid congestion. If you are a heavy data user, your ISP will throttle speeds, so even if you have a fast-speed connection, your speed will be slow.
- Server location. The server you have connected to makes a lot of difference in terms of speed. Long-distance servers will slow down your speed because your data travels a long way.
- VPN speed limit. Some VPNs limit data on their servers, so they offer slow speeds.
Before running speed tests, we recorded our speed without the VPN and recorded a download speed of 10.10 Mbps and an upload speed of 10.23 Mbps.
IPVanish offered a download speed of 7.12 Mbps with an upload speed of 3.53 Mbps on its US server. We observed that the ping rate was very high at 313 ms. The download speed was good, but the upload speed was very low.
NordVPN gave a fast download speed of 9.63 Mbps and an upload speed of 9.46 Mbps on its US server. Both download and upload speeds were equally fast, which means it’s an excellent choice for torrenting, and streaming.
Private Intenet Access Speed
Private Internet Access gave us a download speed of 7.16 Mbps and an upload speed of 6.40 Mbps on its USA server. The ping rate was very low compared to other providers.
Winner: NordVPN is the winner as it offers the fastest connection speeds on its servers. During testing, it offered equally fast download and upload speeds.
Ease of Use (Setup/ Interface)
A VPN needs to be easy to use because not all of us are tech-savvy. So, a VPN that requires a lot of customization is not easy to use for everyone. That is why in this comparison between IPVanish vs NordVPN vs Private Internet Access, we will take a look at the app setup and interface.
IPVanish app has a dark interface with a lot of information displayed on the main window like connection time, server IP, the protocol used, data up, and data down. Even though this information is good to have, but not necessary as it may confuse beginners.
You will see the settings option, quick connect, and server list on the left sidebar.
NordVPN has an intuitive app interface with a map of servers on its main window. You can see a big map of server locations that you can instantly tap to and connect to your desired location.
It is enjoyable to look at. Moreover, the protocols and advanced features are available under the Settings Option that opens in a new window. Its servers are available to the left of the screen, listed in alphabetical order.
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access has custom apps for all major platforms, and they offer a balance between features and performance. Connecting to a server only takes a few clicks, and advanced users can access a wide array of settings that are tucked under the server list.
In PIA’s settings tab, you can find connection, network, privacy, and other settings. From there, you can customize settings like encryption, proxy, connection type, and port used.
Winner: NordVPN is the winner with its map interface in apps that make finding the server you want to connect to. It is also easy to navigate around for beginners.
Every VPN offers different features. The table below shows a side-by-side comparison of features offered by IPVanish vs NordVPN vs Private Internet Access.
|256-bit AES encryption||✓||✓||✓|
|Onion Over VPN||x||✓||x|
|DNS Leak Protection||✓||✓||✓|
IPVanish offers plenty of features like an automatic kill switch, split tunneling, SOCKS5, and encrypted storage. It also offers perfect forward secrecy for better security.
When you subscribe to IPVanish, you also get encrypted storage called SugarSync. For a small fee, you get up to 500 GB of storage encrypted with AES 256-bit encryption.
NordVPN is a popular VPN known for privacy and security, offering many advanced features. It has recently started offering a Threat Protection feature that protects you from various online threats, including malicious websites, trackers, and dangerous files.
It also offers double VPN, onion over VPN, and dark web monitor. Dark Web Monitor ensures your personal data is not leaked on the dark web.
Some of its proprietary features include Meshnets and Presets. Presets allow you to set up a VPN connection according to desired speed and server location. Meshnet allows you to establish a secure connection between different devices for data sharing.
Private Internet Access
PIA offers customizable encryption as you can choose between AES 128-bit encryption or AES 256-bit encryption (CBC or CGM). You can also choose between RSA-4096 and SHA-384 handshake or RSA-2048 and SHA-256.
PIA’s advanced features include an automatic kill switch, ad-blocker, split tunneling, and SOCKS5 encrypted proxy. However, these features are not available for all platforms. For example, the split tunneling feature is not available on iOS.
Winner: NordVPN is the winner here as it offers many advanced features that are missing from other providers like Onion Over VPN, Threat Protection, and Double VPN. Also, most of its features are available on all its apps, unlike PIA VPN and IPVanish.
Device Compatibility: Which VPN is the Best?
VPNs offer native apps for various devices ranging from smartphones to smart TVs. To check the device compatibility, here is a quick comparison of apps offered by IPVanish vs NordVPN vs Private Internet Access.
IPVanish offers native apps for various devices such as Windows, iOS, Android, Mac, Firestick, and more. Linux users don’t get a native app, but it can be used via the Command Line Interface.
IPVanish’s Windows app is by far the most feature-rich compared to other operating systems. The Windows app offers a lot of customization, and you get a selection of tunneling protocols to choose from. It also supports unlimited simultaneous connections.
NordVPN has dedicated apps for devices like Windows, iOS, Android, and macOS. Its Smart DNS feature allows you to use NordVPN on devices without native support for VPNs like Smart TVs, Nvidia Shield, Samsung TVs, and gaming consoles.
NordVPN apps are feature-rich, not just their desktop versions but mobile apps. It even has two apps for Mac offering tons of advanced features like Meshnet and Presets. It supports up to 6 simultaneous connections on a single account.
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access offers full-featured apps for various devices, and you can use it on 10 devices simultaneously. It also offers well-built macOS, Windows, Android, iOS, Firestick, and Linux apps.
PIA VPN features differ according to the source of the app. For example, if you download the Android PIA VPN app from Play Store, you will not get its MACE feature, but the feature is included in its APK version. Similarly, the MACE feature is entirely missing from its iOS version.
Winner: It’s a tie between NordVPN and IPVanish. NordVPN offers full-featured apps across various platforms and is easy to set up and use. However, IPVanish supports unlimited simultaneous connections.
VPNs are very common among streamers, considering how almost all popular streaming platforms are geo-blocked. But not all VPNs are capable of unblocking streaming services. Therefore, we tested IPVanish vs NordVPN vs Private Internet Access to see which stands out, and here are the results.
IPVanish unblocks major streaming platforms on its servers. We could stream US Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime with it without any issues.
It does struggle with unblocking BBC iPlayer, and Disney+. While trying to watch BBC iPlayer, it failed on the first attempt but did manage to unblock iPlayer on our second attempt.
NordVPN is a solid and reliable VPN for streaming. Its servers have SmartPlay technology that ensures you can access any website you want.
NordVPN unblocked all streaming services that we tried without any issues. We could stream Disney+, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, and DAZN. When it comes to Netflix, NordVPN can unblock 15+ regional libraries.
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access is good at unblocking streaming sites. It works with Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney Plus. To unblock Hulu, we contacted customer support to ask for the server that worked because it failed initially.
Winner: NordVPN is the best VPN for streaming, as it works with all popular streaming services without any issues. While streaming, you will not experience any buffering with NordVPN.
Unblocking Geo-Restrictions in China and Other Restricted Internet Access Countries
Many countries like China, Saudi Arabia, and others use heavy censorship and restrictions, which is why VPN usage is quite popular in these countries. But, not all VPNs work under such restrictions because of VPN blocking mechanisms. So, we tested to see which VPN works in such environments, and here are the results.
IPVanish does not work in China. It even says on its website that the Chinese Great Firewall blocks its IP addresses. Even its app is blocked in China.
Despite having its obfuscation feature, you will have no luck using IPVanish in China. If you still wish to try it in other restricted countries, try connecting manually to IPVanish’s server IP address instead of the server.
NordVPN is a solid choice for users in China and other restricted countries. NordVPN’s obfuscation feature ensures you can sail through the highly censored internet space without getting undetected, as your VPN traffic is masked.
NordVPN also evades DPI (deep packet inspection) used by the Great Firewall, so you can access anything you want from anywhere.
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access does not work in China. It also doesn’t work in other countries that are actively blocking VPNs, such as Egypt, UAE, and Turkey.
Even if it offers an obfuscation feature and a large network of servers, you will not be able to use PIA VPN in China and other restrictive countries.
Winner: NordVPN is the clear winner here as it’s the only provider that works in China and other countries that pose heavy internet restrictions and restrict VPN access.
Torrenting is one of the major tasks for which users opt for a VPN. A VPN keeps you private while torrenting and offers fast speeds as it helps bypass ISP throttling. We tested the three providers with torrenting, and here are the results.
IPVanish is a solid choice for downloading torrents, but not the best for the task. It does not have any specialized P2P servers. However, its normal servers support P2P traffic.
It also offers a SOCKS5 proxy for those who want faster connections without compromising security. While torrenting, IPVanish offered us a download speed of 5.3MB/s, which was slow as our base connection was 100 Mbps.
NordVPN offers dedicated servers for P2P. In fact, there are 4800 servers that support P2P traffic. Its NordLynx protocol, which is an enhanced version of WireGuard, offers fast downloading speeds without any bandwidth throttling.
While torrenting, NordVPN gave us an average bitrate of 7.8MB/s. You can expect even faster speeds with NordVPN if your seed/peer ratio is good. Furthermore, it also supports split tunneling and SOCKS5 proxy.
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access feels like it’s geared toward P2P users because of its extensive network of servers and tons of torrenting features. It offers a port forwarding feature that can really improve your speed. It also supports P2P traffic on all its servers.
There is a SOCKS5 proxy, but we don’t recommend using it. It works as a double-hop, so your speed will decrease a lot. Without SOCKS 5, we got a bitrate of 5.5MB/s, and with SOCKS5, our speed dropped 80%.
Winner: NordVPN takes the lead in this section as it offers the best overall P2P performance. It has special P2P servers and offers the fastest download speeds compared to IPVanish and Private Internet Access.
Servers and Performance Comparison
The number of servers a VPN offers affects the quality of the service and performance, as a broad network means you can unblock any regionally restricted content from anywhere. Here is the server comparison of NordVPN, IPVanish, and Private Internet Access.
|Private Internet Access||35,500||84|
IPVanish offers 2000 servers in 75 countries, NordVPN offers 5300 servers in 60 countries, but Private Internet Access takes the lead by offering around 35000 servers in 84 countries.
Private Internet Access claims to have one of the largest server networks of any VPN, as it offers thousands of servers covering 84 countries. Regarding global coverage, some VPNs have more server locations, like ExpressVPN has servers in 94 countries.
However, with so many servers and strong worldwide coverage with Private Internet Access, you will not have to worry about overcrowded servers. So, more servers not only improve speeds but also makes it harder for streaming websites to flag IPs.
However, if we talk about speed, NordVPN servers take the lead, as even with its modest server network, it offers the best speeds.
Winner: Private Internet Access is the clear winner here, with a massive network of servers in 84 countries. With so many servers, you can easily connect to a nearby server and get fast speeds.
Security Protocols Comparison
There are multiple VPN protocols that are used by different providers, along with different encryption ciphers for data protection. We compared the security protocols offered by NordVPN vs IPVanish vs Private Internet Access, and here are the results.
|Encryption||256-bit AES||256-bit AES||256-bit/ 128-bit AES|
IPVanish supports OpenVPN, WireGuard, and IPSec tunneling protocols. It also uses the latest 256-bit AES encryption for data protection, along with a kill switch. Its obfuscation technology is called Scramble.
IPVanish’s Scramble feature obfuscates traffic by encoding and shuffling OpenVPN data allowing it to bypass VPN blocks. However, it does not work in China, so we are not sure how practical it is.
NordVPN supports IPSec, OpenVPN, and its advanced version of WireGaurd called NordLynx. It is faster than WireGuard and offers better security. Its obfuscated servers bypass even the toughest VPN blocks and restrictions on the internet.
It also offers an Onion Over VPN feature that combines VPN with Tor for more anonymity while browsing through a highly censored internet space.
Private Internet Access offers a Shadowsocks protocol that works as an open-source encrypted proxy, but it does not work in China, so there is no obfuscation. As for encryption, it allows you to choose between 128-bit and 256-bit cipher.
Winner: NordVPN is the clear winner with NordLynx protocol and its advanced obfuscated servers that can easily bypass geo-blocks and internet restrictions.
When choosing a VPN, it is essential to choose a no-logs policy VPN that does not store user data. Therefore, it is essential to read their privacy policies. We have checked the background of each provider, and here are the results.
NordVPN is one of the most secure VPNs available with a verified no-logs policy. It is based in Panama, a country with no mandatory data retention laws.
NordVPN does not log any user data regarding IP address, traffic information, connection timestamps, and others. It has undergone third-party audits multiple times, and its mobile apps have ioXt certification, which is very rare. You can check the full certification report here.
Private Internet Access
However, PIA regularly receives court orders and warrants requesting information from users, but the fact that it has NEVER handed over any data shows that it does not log any user information. It is based in the US, a country with privacy-invasive laws.
Winner: NordVPN is the clear winner here with independent third-party audits, a safe jurisdiction, and certified mobile apps. IPVanish and PIA VPN are based in the US, which is a main member of the 5 Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance.
IPVanish vs NordVPN vs Private Internet Access Ease of Signing Up
There are many VPNs in the market that don’t support many payment methods making it hard for subscribers to sign up. Therefore, it is recommended to choose a VPN that offers a simple and easy sign-up process.
|IPVanish||NordVPN||Private Internet Access|
|Money-back Guarantee on Crypto Payment||x||✓||x|
IPVanish supports payment from PayPal and credit cards. It does not support Google Pay, Amazon Pay, or cryptocurrencies. Many users choose to pay for the VPN via cryptocurrency as it’s more anonymous and untraceable.
Private Internet Access, on the other hand, supports credit cards, PayPal, and crypto payments. It accepts payments in the form of Bitpay, Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum. However, crypto payments are not backed by any money-back guarantee, so you cannot ask for a refund.
NordVPN supports payment via PayPal, credit cards, and cryptocurrency. It offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for all its payment methods, even crypto. So, you can get a refund within 30 days if you are not satisfied. It gives you a chance to try the service risk-free.
Winner: NordVPN is the winner here as all its payment methods are backed with a 30-day money-back guarantee, and it also accepts Google Pay. PIA VPN comes in at second position with its crypto payments option, while IPVanish lags behind with its two payment options only.
IPVanish vs NordVPN vs Private Internet Access Customer Support
VPN customer support is an essential feature as it ensures that you always have help in case you are stuck or face a problem while connecting to the VPN. NordVPN, IPVanish, and Private Internet Access provide great customer service.
|IPVanish||NordVPN||Private Internet Access|
IPVanish offers live chat support on its website, which is available 24/7. You are first given the option to chat with a bot, and after that, you can choose the option to get in touch with a live agent.
NordVPN also has a live chat option feature available on its official website. Like IPVanish, you are greeted with a bot, and then you can opt for live agent support. But, NordVPN’s agents are rapid and you don’t have long to get assistance.
Private Internet Access also has quick and responsive live chat available on its website. It also gives you the option to either talk to a bot or get assistance from a live agent. However, in the case of PIA, we had to wait 5-8 minutes before the live agent responded to us.
Winner: NordVPN is the winner here, as we got a response from their customer support team via live chat within a minute. PIA and IPVanish teams were not as efficient.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is NordVPN better than IPVanish and Private Internet Access?
Yes, NordVPN is better than IPVanish and Private Internet Access in terms of speed, security, streaming capability, features, and customer support. NordVPN offers dedicated features such as Onion Over VPN, CyberSec, and NordLynx that are missing from its competitors.
Do IPVanish, NordVPN, and Private Internet Access offer any deals?
Yes, NordVPN, IPVanish, and Private Internet Access offer deals. NordVPN is offering a 60% discount on its 2-year plan. IPVanish is offering a discount of 65% on its yearly plan, and Private Internet Access offers an 83% discount on its 3-year plan.
Is NordVPN faster than IPVanish and Private Internet Access?
Yes, NordVPN is faster than IPVanish and Private Internet Access, thanks to its advanced version of WireGuard called NordLynx. During testing, NordVPN was the fastest, offering a download speed of 26.91 Mbps on a 30 Mbps base connection.
Bottomline – 1 Clear Winner
After a detailed comparison between NordVPN vs IPVanish vs Private Internet Access, we can confidently say that NordVPN is the winner of this battle. It is one of the best VPNs for privacy, streaming, and torrenting.
IPVanish is a great choice as well, with unlimited simultaneous connections but it lacks in terms of features. PIA VPN has an impressive server network but lags behind in speed and performance.