IPVanish vs. ExpressVPN: Which is better for Torrents?

ExpressVPN & IPVanish are 2 of the most popular VPN providers in the world, and a couple of the fastest as well. But how do these heavyweights compare when it comes to torrents and the privacy needs of p2p downloaders.

We’ll answer the question once and for all…

Who’s better for torrents: IPVanish or ExpressVPN?

Quick Head-to-Head

 
IPVanish
ExpressVPN
IPVanish vs. ExpressVPN: Comparison
ExpressVPN
JurisdictionUnited StatesBritish Virgin Islands
Number of Servers1000 servers in 55+ countries2000 servers in over 90 countries
VPN ProtocolsOpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP and Stealth OpenVPNOpenVPN, L2TP
Encryption Strength256-bit AES256-bit AES
Torrent Proxy Included?Yes, SOCKS5No
Torrent PolicyAllowed on all serversAllowed on all servers
Logging PolicyNo Logs.No activity logs. Some meta data logs (doesn't include IP addresses).
Firestick App?YesYes
Devices allowed103
Pricing/PlansOne Month: $10
One Year: $6.49/m (best deal)
One Month: $12.99
One Year: $8.32/m
Refund Policy7 days (unconditional)30 days (conditional)
Our Review
IPVanish Review
Is ExpressVPN good for Torrents
Signup Link

IPVanish vs. ExpressVPN: Our Favorite Features

Before we dive deeper into specifics, here’s an overview of the things that make each of these providers great in their own way.

IPVanish

IPVanish is one of the fastest VPN providers in the world, and have been consistently since their founding. That’s because IPV owns their own Tier-1 data backbone (a claim only 1 other VPN can make).

They were one of the first to go zero-log, and have been relentlessly improving their software and service as their customer base has grown.

Best Features:

  • Extremely fast speeds
  • No Logs at all.
  • No restrictions on BitTorrent speeds or locations
  • Apps for all major platforms
  • ‘Stealth’ protocol to get through firewalls
  • Includes SOCKS5 proxy (can be used with uTorrent, Vuze, QBitTorrent)

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is a premium VPN service headquartered in the British Virgin Islands (a privacy haven). They’re known for fanatical (and fast) tech support, as well as extremely fast speeds. They’re one of the only VPNs that comes close to IPVanish on torrent download speed.

They embrace p2p and allow torrents on all server locations. While not a true ‘non-logging’ VPN (they keep some data for troubleshooting purposes) ExpressVPN doesn’t keep records about your IP address or torrent history.

Best Features:

  • Extremely fast speeds
  • No restrictions on BitTorrent speeds or locations
  • Apps for all major platforms
  • Works with Netflix & other streaming services

VPN Security

Encryption

IPVanish and ExpressVPN both offer 256-bit encryption (the industry high-security standard). 

Both providers implement Perfect Forward Secrecy which means every VPN session uses a unique encryption key (good). 

IPVanish’s software gives you the choice of 3 VPN protocols (OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP). They also add a ‘Stealth’ protocol if you enable ‘Scramble’ mode in the software options.

ExpressVPN adds the SSTP protocol in addition to the 3 mentioned above (4 total protocols). SSTP also can work as a ‘Stealth’ protocol to slip through VPN-blocking firewalls. 

IPVanish security settings
IPVanish’s software gives you access to 3 VPN protocols, ‘Stealth mode’ and IP-leak protection

​Other Security Features
IPVanish and ExpressVPN both include a kill-switch option, which prevents your IP address from leaking publicly if the VPN disconnects by accident. They also include DNS leak protection which prevents your internet provider from using a windows security flaw to monitor your web history. 

Security Summary:
IPVanish and ExpressVPN are pretty evenly matched on security, but we’ll give ExpressVPN the slight edge thanks to their dedicated ‘Stealth Mode’ option (which lets you get the network firewalls that may try to block VPN traffic).
WINNER: IPVanish

Logging Policy

A VPN’s logging policy is of critical importance when choosing a VPN for downloading torrents anonymously.

Because torrent activity is usually tracked based on public IP-addresses, you want to make sure that your VPN doesn’t log your IP address and preferably keeps no logs of any kind.

Neither IPVanish, nor ExpressVPN record IP addresses (according to their privacy policies) but that’s not the whole story:

IPVanish’s Logging Policy

In IPVanish’s privacy policy, they state:

IPVanish does not collect, monitor, or log any traffic or use of its Virtual Private Network service, under any circumstances, on any platform.

Elsewhere on their site, IPVanish claims a strict ‘No-Logs’ policy. I do wish the privacy policy had more specifics on what they consider to be ‘traffic.’ For example, is metadata excluded as a category separate from traffic?

This is mainly an issue because there was some controversy surrounding IPVanish apparently handing over metadata logs on a customer in 2016. That said, I have been repeatedly assured by the team that they do no log IP addresses or your connection history and there have been no reports of torrent activities being exposed after they switched to a zero-log policy in 2014.

Jursdictional Requirements: IPVanish is based in the USA, which currently doesn’t have data-retention requirements for VPNs. They are not required by law to keep any records, however they can be compelled to comply with court orders (or NSA demands) for any records that they do keep.

Bottom Line: IPVanish states that they do not log VPN traffic. They separately have claimed not to record IP addresses but it’s somewhat unclear.

ExpressVPN’s logging policy

ExpressVPN’s privacy policy is a bit more forthcoming than IPVanish’s when it comes to data retention:

We ensure that we never log browsing history, traffic destination, data content, IP addresses, or DNS queries…


– We do not know which user was connected to the VPN at a specific time or which VPN server IP addresses they used.
– We do not know the set of original IP addresses of a user’s computer.


Should anyone try to compel ExpressVPN to release user information based on any of the above, we cannot supply this information because the data don’t exist.

I like the fact that ExpressVPN clearly discloses what records they do and don’t keep. Elsewhere in the privacy policy, they discuss minimal logs they do keep such as anonymized crash reports and diagnostic logs. They also lay out the one exception to the ‘No-IP addresses’ rule, which is if you opt into their MediaStreamer service.

Jurisdiction: ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Isles, which doesn’t require VPNs to keep records about their customer’s VPN usage.

Bottom Line: ExpressVPN doesn’t monitor or log VPN activity, and they don’t record your IP address or metadata about your connection history.

Better Privacy Policy: IPVanish or ExpressVPN?

We’re going to give the edge to ExpressVPN here, thanks to their more detailed privacy policy (and no history of incidents involving customer records).

SOFTWARE / FEATURES

Both IPVanish and ExpressVPN have truly excellent software. There’s a reason that the top 5 or 6 providers are WAY more popular than the rest. It has alot to do with the software, performance, and user experience. 

IPVanish Software

IPVanish’s software is gorgeous and functional. It is constantly underdevelopment, and new features are added every few months or so. Currently IPVanish is on V3 of their software

Server Selection:

IPVanish makes choosing a server quick and easy. You can either see all their servers in List View or Map View. You can sort all the servers by ping when in list view, and you can easily search for any server location you want using their ‘filter’ function. 

IPVanish software server Map
‘Map’ server selection tool in IPvanish

Other IPVanish software features

IPVanish has added a number of useful features in the past 12 months. Here are our favorites:

  • Choose your VPN Protocol: You can choose OpenVPN (TCP/UDP), L2TP, or PPTP. For most users, OpenVPN (UDP) will be the best and fastest option. 
  • Scramble: This is IPVanish’s ‘Stealth’ VPN protocol. If your network blocks VPN connections, this tool can disguise your VPN data as regular SSL web traffic, making it nearly impossible to block. 
  • Rotate IP Address: You can choose to get a new IP address every ‘X’ minutes, automatically. We don’t recommend doing this while torrenting, however, because IPvanish must disconnect briefly between IPs. 

ExpressVPN Software

ExpressVPN’s software is lightweight, fast, and powerful. We especially like the ‘Favorite servers’ functionality that lets you add your frequently used server locations to a custom list for quick and easy access.

ExpressVPN has all the most important IP-leak protection tools built-in, such as DNS leak and disconnect leak protection (using a kill-switch).

Here is a closer look at some of ExpressVPNs best software features:

ExpressVPN software: Server list

Choosing a server:

Choosing your preferred server location is fast and easy. There are multiple sortable server lists within the software.

​You can sort servers by Name, Location, or choose specific servers to add to a ‘Favorite Servers’ list. 

ExpressVPN also shows you the most recently used servers if you want to reconnect quickly. 

Favorite Servers
To add any server to your ‘Favorites’ list, simply click the star beside that server location.

Once the star is yellow, the server will show up in your favorite servers list, which is accessed by clicking the ‘Star’ tab marked in red in the top left corner. 

VPN Protocol Options

ExpressVPN protocols: UDP, TCP, OpenVPN, L2TP

ExpressVPN’s software lets you easily switch between all 5 of their available VPN protocols.

You can also select ‘Choose Protocol Automatically’ which will intelligently choose the best option for you, based on your intended server location and your current network conditions. 

For most users, UDP – OpenVPN will be the best blend of speed/security. UDP is the perfect protocol for high-bandwidth activities like: video streaming, torrents/p2p, and Skype. 

Only choose TCP if you’re downloading files via your web browser (because TCP validates the receipt of all data packets) which should help prevent your large file transfer from failing in the middle.

So who has the better software?

This was a relatively close call, and both IPvanish and Express offer most of the features we really want to see from a VPN client. There were a few differences, between them however.

Expressvpn: has the ‘favorite servers’ feature (which I love). Their client is light and fast and doesn’t take up alot of screen real estate.

IPVanish: The IPvanish desktop client is a bit large, but it’s packed with features. It has smart server selection, map view, obfuscation/stealth mode, split-tunneling, and 3-way ip leak protectionUpdate: IPvanish now has a ‘Favorite’ server feature as well.

In the end, IPVanish’s longer feature-list won out. The latest version of their software (adding kill-switch & stealth protocol) has really pushed them over the edge.

Best Software: IPVanish

IPVANISH VS. EXPRESSVPN:  SPEEDS & SPEEDTEST

Speed is one of the most important criteria for choosing a VPN service, especially if you want to use it for high-speed torrent downloads. In fact, the only thing we consider more important is making sure to choose a ‘Zero-Log’ VPN provider like IPVanish. 

Both IPVanish and ExpressVPN have a reputation for fast speeds. ExpressVPN even claims on their website to be the fastest VPN around. Let’s see how they compare in our real-world speed testing…

Server LocationIPVanish (Mb/s)ExpressVPN (Mb/s)
USA (NYC)72.34 (Download)
90.58 (Upload)
67.99 (Download)
64.84 (Upload)
USA (West Coast)D: 73.06
U: 85.44
D: 51.78
U: 42.11
Netherlands (Torrents)D: 50.28
U: 82.31
D: 57.32
U: 103.59
IPVanish speed test results
IPVanish vs. ExpressVPN Speed Test

Torrents / P2P

Most of our readers are interested in using a VPN specifically for downloading torrents safely. This section will help you decide whether IPVanish or ExpressVPN is better for that purpose.

Spoiler: it’s IPVanish

BitTorrent / P2P Policy

You should always choose a VPN that specifically allows p2p activity, otherwise you risk having your account banned without a refund.

Fortunately, IPVanish & ExpressVPN both allow torrents and have directly targeted marketing efforts towards BitTorrent fans.

Torrent-Friendly Features

What features does each VPN offer that will make your Torrent downloading faster, easier, or more secure?

IPVanish:

  • Zero-Log Policy
  • Faster Speeds
  • Kill-Switch
  • Stealth Protocol (in case of a firewall)
  • Included SOCKS5 Proxy

ExpressVPN:

  • No IP address Logs
  • Fast Speeds
  • Kill Switch

As you can see, IPVanish has several more features that make them more torrent-friendly than ExpressVPN.

Stealth Protocol: In case you’re trying to download torrents on a network that tries to block VPN or BitTorrent traffic (hotel wifi, school, etc) you can use the stealth mode to get through the firewall.

Socks5 Proxy:this gives you an alternate method to hide your torrent IP address. You would set it up inside your favorite torrent client. It can even be used in addition to the VPN. It’s included with every IPVanish subscription (read our IPVanish review for setup instructions)

Winner: IPVanish

Price, Refund Policy & Free Trial

Summary:

Price Range: IPVanish is priced in the mid-range for comparable VPN services, while ExpressVPN is in the top 10% most expensive VPNs. 

Refund Policy: IPVanish has a 7-day 100% refund policy. ExpressVPN has a 30-day refund policy.

Free Trial: Neither VPN provider has a true free trial (one that doesn’t require a payment method). However, thanks to their refund policies you can try each provider ‘risk-free’ and end up paying nothing if you request a full refund.

IPVanish’s Pricing, Plans & Refund Policy

IPVanish has 1 all-inclusive subscription plan, which is available in 3 subscription lengths. The longer the term, the better your discount:

  • 1 Month: $10
  • 3 Months: $8.99/month
  • 1 Year: $6.49/month
IPVanish price chart

IPVanish’s Refund Policy (7 days)

IPVanish will fully refund your subscription payment if you request a refund within the first 7 days of service. The full IPVanish return policy can be found here.

ExpressVPN’s Pricing, Plans & Return Policy

Like IPVanish, ExpressVPN offers 1 unlimited plan in 3 subscription lengths (with different pricing for each).

The pricing is as follows:

  • 1 month: $12.95/month
  • 6 months: $9.99/month
  • 1 year: $8.32/month (35% savings)

ExpressVPN’s Return Policy (30 Days)

ExpressVPN offers an unconditional 30 day refund policy. Simply contact support to request a full refund if you aren’t satisfied with their service. This allows you to create a your own Free Trial for ExpressVPN if you wish.

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

While both the VPN providers offer solid service and features, we think there’s a clear winner here, and it’s IPVanish.

This is especially true if your primary VPN usage will be torrent/p2p filesharing, as IPVanish is the only one of the two with a true ‘Zero-Log’ policy. And of course price is always a factor, and IPvanish around 20% cheaper than expressVPN. 

​Here’s a summary of our findings from this comparison:

IPVanish

IPVanish is an extremely capable, torrent-friendly VPN. You’ll love their fast speeds, dedication to privacy, and included SOCKS5 proxy. 

  • No Logs. Period
  • Fast Speeds
  • Good Software/Apps
  • SOCKS5 Proxy Included
  • Torrents allowed on all servers
  • Fair Pricing
  • Doesn’t work with Netflix
  • Refund policy is only 7 days

 

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN has outstanding software, and their mobile VPN apps (iOS, Android) are some of the best, so if mobile security is a priority, they’re worth a look. We just wish it didn’t cost so darn much. 

  • Doesn’t log IP addresses
  • Fast Speeds
  • Good Software/Apps
  • Works with Netflix/Hulu
  • Can be installed directly on a router
  • Expensive
  • No SOCKS5 Proxy
  • Still keeps some (minor) metadata logs

Ryan McCarthy

Ryan is the editor and head reviewer. He's been a tech geek and digital privacy enthusiast since the Y2k freakout in '99. When not writing BitTorrent tutorials, he can usually be found sipping a lager or playing pickup football (the real kind).

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