Two boxing gloves are about to hit, and two flags are behind them — one has Surfshark's logo, and the other has an IPVanish logo.

Introducing first, in the white corner, an up-and-coming but already recognized as PCMag’s champion — Surfshark! 

And second, in the green corner, a champion of the old — IPVanish!

The officials are ready, and the fighters are in. So for the thousands in attendance and the millions watching worldwide: ladies and gentlemen, let’s get ready to… compare the two VPNs (Virtual Private Networks). Surfshark vs. IPVanish — which is better?

Table of contents

    Surfshark vs. IPVanish: at a glance

    3200+ servers in 100 countries
    1,900+ servers in 75+ different locations
    WireGuard, IKEv2, OpenVPN
    WireGuard, IKEv2, OpenVPN, IPSec
    Platforms and apps that run the VPN
    Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Fire TV, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, major gaming consoles
    Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Fire TV, Linux, Chrome
    Price per month
    $2.30 (2-year plan)
    $3.33 (1-year plan)
    24/7 support
    Independently audited
    Browser extensions, server infrastructure, no-logging

    Surfshark and IPVanish are premium VPN services with top-grade encryption and unlimited simultaneous connections. So what more is there to look for?


    When talking about what makes a good VPN, speed is essential. Considering that, we’ll look at the biggest factors contributing to VPN speed. Then, we’ll run some tests to determine which industry titan offers better speeds.

    The actual connection speed on a VPN will be determined by:

    So, once you’re using a VPN, the stats you should look at are download speed, upload speed, and an increase in ping. They’re measured in megabits per second (Mbps) the speed at which your data is transferred.

    All of the taken speed results will differ, and that’s A-OK because all of us are from different parts of the world with different internet speeds.

    Speed test results

    A hand holding a speedometer that's measuring internet speed.

    Important info interpreting the test results:

    • We picked two places — one very far away from us and another very close;
    • With each place, we performed 10 tests: the shown speeds are average. Then, we compared the internet speed results with and without a VPN;
    • We used by Ookla;
    • The percentage info shows how much your speed drops.

    Speed test using a server closer to us

    VPN service
    Download speed
    Upload speed
    Increase in ping
    No drop
    1.7 times the normal ping
    3 times the normal ping

    Speed test using a server further away from us

    VPN service
    Download speed
    Upload speed
    Increase in ping
    No drop
    23 times the normal ping
    25 times the normal ping

    It’s hard to be impartial when writing about your product, but it looks like Surfshark beats IPVanish in this category. Though keep in mind that results will differ depending on the location they’re performed at.

    Closing thoughts on speed

    Surfshark takes the cake, despite IPVanish having bigger bandwidth servers. However, location is one of the most important factors in determining speed, so be wary of where you perform the speed test.

    Also, it’s important to note that internet speed has several bottlenecks, two of which are the quantity and location of the servers.

    Speed winner: Surfshark


    In this case, quantity means quality. Let me explain.

    On paper, Surfshark uses 10Gbps servers, while IPVanish boasts 25Gbps servers. These numbers mean the bandwidth that they offer. Server bandwidth (Gbps/Mbps) is the diameter of the internet “pipe” — the bigger the diameter, the more the internet “water” (data) can flow through. But, in reality, these numbers don’t matter quite as much. 

    Server output

    The thing is, one server has only one “pipe” of limited bandwidth. That bandwidth is split among all its users. The more users, the less bandwidth for an individual user — meaning slower internet speeds for you. More servers for people to join means less populated servers — faster browsing for you.

    How does server location influence your internet speed? Let’s say you are visiting a website the closer you are to the web server, the fewer networks the data passes through. A shorter journey for the data means faster browsing for you.

    Also, the location of a server influences another important thing geolocation and georestriction. You can access lower-priced markets with a larger pool of servers in different countries. More servers more markets fewer expenses.

    So, now that we’ve established that quantity IS quality here, let’s check the server count and locations.

    Server count & locations

    Both VPNs cover the globe and overlap in general locations like North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania. However, Surfshark stands out with its servers in almost every region of the world.

    The table below shows the server locations and server count per platform:

    Countries (total)
    Asia Pacific
    The Middle East and Africa

    Want a more specific list? We’ve got you. The following countries are home to Surfshark servers but don’t host a single IPVanish server:

    • Europe — Andorra, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Georgia, Greenland, Isle of Man, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Ukraine;
    • Americas Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela;
    • Asia Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Laos, Macau, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Vietnam;
    • The Middle East and Africa Algeria, Egypt, Marocco, Nigeria.

    Now, I have to be honest with you — IPVanish touts more servers in the US. They have over 1,300+ servers, while Surfshark has over 600+. Despite that, Surfshark still takes the cake thanks to its larger server pool.

    And, while on the topic of servers, Surfshark, unlike IPVanish, offers Static IP Servers.

    Closing thoughts on servers

    Surfshark has more servers in different places, meaning more access to georestricted websites. Also, with Surfshark, more servers equal more security. Literally. We utilize this ton of servers in one of our features called Surfshark Nexus.

    Servers winner: Surfshark


    Although both VPNs provide data encryption, only one has more features than the other. Here’s a quick overview of the features that they offer:

    Unlimited connections
    Split tunneling
    Browser extensions
    Double VPN / Dynamic MultiHop
    DNS & leak protection
    Automatic startup
    Cloud storage


    Also known as the Camouflage mode at Surfshark, obfuscation masks the fact that you’re using a VPN. Even from your ISP (Internet Service Provider). Both IPVanish and Surfshark use it.

    GPS spoofing

    Also known as fake GPS or GPS override, GPS spoofing makes you appear to be in a different place. Both IPVanish and Surfshark have it.

    Split tunneling

    Also known as Bypasser at Surfshark, split tunneling means that only a part of your information (of your choosing, of course) goes through a VPN. It helps separate activities that need a VPN from those that don’t. Both IPVanish and Surfshark use it.

    Kill Switch

    Kill Switch disables your internet connection if the VPN connection drops without any notice. Nobody wants to get caught with their pants off, do they? IPVanish and Surfshark have it (IPVanish doesn’t support this feature on Linux and iOS, though). 

    No-logs policy

    A no-logs policy guarantees that any action taken in the cyberworld will not be logged and kept. Both IPVanish and Surfshark follow it

    Cookie pop-up blocker

    It’s a browser extension that declines and rejects all cookies that are unnecessary. If some are crucial for you to continue those are accepted. Only Surfshark has it

    NoBorders mode

    This comes into play only if you’re in a country that forbids VPNs or restricts internet freedom. The feature will help you log in to your Surfshark app and see the list of best servers under current network restrictions. Only Surfshark has it

    Ad block

    We call it CleanWeb at Surfshark. One way to infect your computer is by clicking on a malicious advert. So it seemed natural to add a feature that keeps your browsing clean of such ads. Only Surfshark has it.

    Dynamic MultiHop

    Also known as Double VPN, this feature lets you direct your data through a couple of different servers chained together to increase your security. Surfshark uses it, and IPVanish doesn’t.


    Surfshark uses a network of servers scattered worldwide to hide your IP address. Connecting to Nexus routes your internet traffic through a network of servers rather than a single VPN tunnel. Only Surfshark has it (across all VPNs). 


    Up to 500 GB of secure cloud storage space with cross-device compatibility. Only IPVanish offers it.

    Automatic startup

    A feature that automatically activates your VPN once there is an internet connection. Only IPVanish has it.

    Closing thoughts on features

    Surshark and IPVanish compare like a Swiss knife to a regular one both cut, but one has more features. It’s like having your dad’s toolbox full of appliances for every occasion.

    Features winner: Surfshark

    Security & privacy

    The majority of VPN users choose a VPN based on its security. That security depends on several things, like protocols, security features, followed policies, encryption, server infrastructure, and location.


    A VPN’s primary purpose is encrypting data with different encryption standards. In that regard, Surfshark and IPVanish use the VPN industry standard encryption — AES 256-bit encryption (the fastest one).

    VPN protocols

    Then, we have VPN protocols the engine and the rulebook behind that encryption. These include:

    The fastest protocol overall
    The best and fastest protocol for mobile users
    A fast and reliable open-source VPN system, the only one that many routers natively support
    IPSec (Internet Protocol Security)
    A protocol suite that encrypts IP packets and provides a framework for secure transport and tunneling

    *The IKEv2 protocol has been removed from Windows.

    Of course, it’s not just about encryption.

    Server infrastructure

    Another way of enforcing security is server infrastructure. Surfshark beats IPVanish because we use RAM-only servers, taking that no-logging practice to the next level. RAM-only servers mean no information can be physically taken from the servers because we can’t keep user data long-term.

    So, because the servers constantly get wiped as a part of our security protocols, your data remains 100% secure, and your browsing experience private. Even if we wanted to log it, there’s just nothing to log. And we don’t stop there.


    Naturally, besides all the security tech, trust matters at least as much. One way to build it is by establishing credibility via audits and following policies. 

    On that front, both VPNs boast about following the no-logs policy. But some years ago and under different management, IPVanish had an “oopsie”they logged activity and provided it to the authorities. Since then, IPVanish has certified its adherence to the “no-logs” policy by an independent auditor Leviathan.

    While on the topic of audits, Surfshark’s server infrastructure and browser extensions have undergone independent audits by Cure53.

    And recently, Deloitte, one of the big four auditing companies, verified our no-logs policy.

    Closing thoughts on security & privacy

    Based on prior history, security features, server infrastructure, and audits, you are more likely to keep your internet activity private and secure if you choose Surfshark.

    Security & privacy winner: Surfshark

    Mobile apps

    There’s not a lot to talk about the truth is that both Surfshark and IPVanish offer end-to-end data encryption for all major mobile devices. Also, IPVanish and Surfshark support router encryption, letting you have a VPN on unlimited devices.

    In addition to your overall security, the Surfshark One bundle also offers antivirus software for Android mobile users.

    The same goes for IPVanish with their VIPRE product, an antivirus program.

    Closing thoughts on mobile apps

    It’s a tie! Surfshark and IPVanish both offer great online security on all mobile devices with the option of an extra layer of protection provided by their antiviruses.

    Mobile apps winner: It’s a tie

    Pricing & plans

    Both VPNs offer the same bundle of goodies no matter what plan you choose. And the pricing is based on the same principle you pay less monthly for a longer plan.

    Both providers receive payment for services in the most conventional forms, with crypto being an exception for IPVanish.

    Both also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.

    1 month: $12.95/mo
    1 month: $11.99/mo
    12 months: $3.99/mo
    12 months: $4.5/mo
    24 months: $2.30/mo + 2 months free
    24 months: $3.33/mo

    Closing thoughts on pricing & plans

    I’d like to use the tattered and sickening phrase, “get the most bang for your buck,” but I won’t. It is as simple as it gets Surfshark is better long-term.

    Pricing & plans winner: Surfshark

    Customer support

    Per usual, live chat and email are the go-to options for support. But there’s more to choose from, and mentioning the differences is important.

    IPVanish shines bright, offering phone support, but Surfshark stands tall with its searchable knowledge base and constantly updated video guides.

    Customer support channels

    Customer Service
    Live chat
    Ticket support
    Email support
    Phone support
    Searchable knowledge base
    Video guides

    The average email response time for both VPN providers is between an hour and two. Likewise, both have articles and video content offering technical support.

    Closing thoughts on customer support

    Surfshark and IPVanish stand as equals with minimal exceptions. Both have a knowledge base, but only Surfshark has a search option.

    Even though they lack freshness in their video department, IPVanish still has a strong presence in this category thanks to their over-the-phone support. Hats off to them!

    Customer support winner: IPVanish

    Surfshark vs. IPVanish: the final scores

    A hand is holding the winning boxer's glove in the air.

    IPVanish has a tarnished history, and despite having servers of bigger bandwidth and an option of cloud storage, it lacks in other departments compared to Surfshark.

    Server locations
    Security & privacy
    Mobile apps
    Customer support

    So, which one do you choose?

    Additional Surfshark reviews and comparisons

    Is Surfshark for you? To help you make a better decision, here’s a Surfshark review! Maybe you want to know how Surfshark compares to other players in the market. If so, we’ve got you covered!

    Keep calm and…

    Get Surfshark


    What’s better than IPVanish?

    Surfshark is a great VPN alternative with a feature-heavy bundle and often provides a better quality of service. Surfshark has gone through three separate audits to show they’re serious about keeping your privacy intact.

    Is Surfshark more trustworthy than IPVanish?

    Yes, Surfshark is more trustworthy because it has more high-level security features and a clear company history compared to IPVanish. Especially when we’re talking about the no-logs policy.

    Is Surfshark a good VPN? 

    Yes, it allows top-grade VPN traffic encryption and unlimited simultaneous connections for a competitive price.

    Where are IPVanish and Surfshark VPNs located?

    Surfshark is located in the Netherlands, and IPVanish’s parent company is in Dallas, US.