Surfshark Vs IPVanish VPN Comparison 2020
Even though Surfshark is a relatively new service, it has carved out a reputation for being a beast on a budget, thanks to its host of features available at affordable rates.
IPVanish has mostly remained under the radar, despite being in the marketplace since 2012, igniting an interest in how well it performs as a service.
With a reliable VPN service becoming a digital necessity in 2020, here is the detailed comparison of both services across 12 categories to make your decision easier!
Pricing and Discounts
Surfshark is the more expensive option on a month-to-month basis. If users choose to go for the monthly plan, they can expect to shell out $11.95 per month.
|Special offer||83% Off on a 24-Months Plan||73% Off on a 12-Months Plan|
|Highest price per month||$11.95||$5.00|
|Lowest price per month||$1.99||$3.25|
If at any moment you are unsatisfied with the performance, Surfshark gives you a 30-day money-back guarantee. On the other hand, IPVanish only offers users a 7-day guarantee.
|Operating System Apps||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV||Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux|
|Manual Install Devices||Set-Top Boxes, Routers, and Linux||Some Routers|
|Split Tunneling||Yes (All Apps)||Yes (Android Only)|
|Free Extras||Shadowsocks Support, Hacklock, Blindsearch, NoBorders Mode, TrustDNS||Browser Extension for Chrome and App for Windows Phones|
Surfshark stands heads and shoulders above IPVanish in terms of innovative features that strengthen users’ anonymity and safety online.
Both are on par in being fully compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, Chrome, and Firefox. However, Surfshark has added support for Fire TVs and Apple TVs.
Not to mention, you can even find apps that work with Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, which is quite helpful, to say the least for the gamer audience!
Surfshark also offers Shadowsock support, a Hacklock feature (data leak tool for identity theft protection), BlindSearch, a NoBorders Mode (for access in China), and more.
IPVanish has no such state-of-the-art features. Additionally, while Surfshark supports unlimited simultaneous connections, IPVanish is restricted to just ten connections.
Surfshark represents an explicitly powerful option in terms of unblocking content. I received exceptional capabilities for bypassing restrictions and VPN bans.
It can help users bypass any restrictions placed on Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Prime Video, Hulu, Voot, Hotstar, and even the infamous Disney Plus.
Additionally, with its array of servers, it can unblock any geo-restricted content from different countries for ex-pats. IPVanish, on the other hand, cannot unblock these streaming sites.
In terms of VoD unblocking, IPVanish has nothing extraordinary on offer. Most websites I visited gave me the “VPN/proxy detected error,” which was quite frustrating.
Chinese netizens are always looking for services that allow users to unblock within the country or access local content from China elsewhere in the world.
“The Great Firewall” adopts various technologies like blackholing VPN services, DNS poisoning, DNS hijacking, and IP filtering, which makes the task difficult.
Where IPVanish failed at providing any incentives for either audience, Surfshark tends to be quite impressive, particularly for those residing in the country.
It offers a Chinese mirror website that allows individuals to download/install their apps. At the same time, it provides a “NoBorders” mode.
This mode activates Sursfhark’s obfuscated servers that transforms VPN traffic into regular HTTPs traffic to bypass geo-restrictions in China.
However, there is no support for those looking to buy a VPN to China, like PureVPN, that offers 12 dedicated Chinese servers for accessing local content.
Users in China can download Surfshark from their dedicated Chinese page here: https://shark-cn.com/
Setup and Interface
|Automatic Setup Wizard||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS|
|Main Location Selection||List-based||List-based|
|Extra Settings Pages||Yes||Yes|
Surfshark supports all the major platforms in use on both desktop and mobile devices. Its list of special features only adds to its overall appeal as a VPN provider.
The user-interface has a distinctly subtle color scheme, making it easier on the eye. Its navigation panel, as well as the overall GUI, is incredibly easy to use.
The response time for the server connection does not exceed 10 seconds and provides a stable background connection throughout the use.
IPVanish has a more compact and sophisticated interface. While not necessarily a bad thing, it can be a bit daunting for amateurs.
The navigation panel is comparatively cluttered and not offer the same minimalistic feeling as its competitor.
However, there are some essential features like blocking LAN access or using split tunneling that users may find attractive.
Severs and Performance
This is one of the few categories where the competition appears to be a bit tough. Surfshark currently has servers in more than 60 countries with more than 1040 servers.
Comparatively, IPVanish has 1300+ servers in more than 50 countries. However, since Surfshark has a higher number of server locations, it is likely to unlock more content compared to IPVanish.
We wanted to see the best way to judge both services’ speed claims was to test them out ourselves via a speed analysis.
We put both of them to work on tasks such as browsing, streaming, downloading, gaming, and torrenting by connecting them to random servers on a 100 Mbps connection.
Surfshark registered an average speed of 89.9 Mbps in uploads and downloads, indicating a loss of 10.1% Similarly, IPVanish registered a rate of 75 Mbps, demonstrating a loss of a significant 25%.
|VPN Protocols||L2TP, IPSec, IKEv2, Shadowsocks, OpenVPN||PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN|
|OpenVPN Data Encryption||AES-256||AES-256-GCM|
|OpenVPN Control Channel Encryption||RSA-2048||RSA-2048|
|Cloaking Technology||Shadowsocks||OpenVPN Obfuscation|
|App Security||Kill Switch, Wi-Fi, DNS/WebRTC/ IP Leak Protection||Kill Switch|
|DNS Status||TrustDNS||Private DNS|
Surfshark relies heavily on its IKEv2 protocol. It is the “default” option across all devices, in addition to giving users the option to configure OpenVPN on all platforms.
Additionally, AES-256-CBC cipher is the first encryption provided on the data channel while using the same cipher with the TLS key exchange using the RSA-2048 encryption.
IPVanish, on the other hand, has almost the same configuration. It comes with AES-256-GCM encryption. However, the kill switch does not provide WebRTC or IP leak protection.
To conduct a reliable and nonpartisan investigation of how secure these two apps are; leak tests were conducted on both using six distinct tools:
WebRTC and HTTP Request Leaks:
IPv4/IPv6 and Torrent IP Leaks:
Unsurprisingly, both IPVanish and Surfshark passed the tests with flying colors, anonymizing all crucial personally identifiable information, keeping you protected 24/7!
|Headquarters||The British Virgin Islands||United States|
|Sign Up Information||Email Address||Email Address|
|Anonymous Payment Methods||Monero, Dash, Gridcoin, Apple, ZCaas, Ehterum, Litecoin, Bitcoin||None|
Surfshark emerges as indisputably the better option because of its center of operations being in the British Virgin Islands. This means no 5/9/14 Eyes surveillance or data sharing agencies.
Surfshark maintains no connection or activity as well as supporting all significant cryptocurrencies taking your financial privacy to the digital frontier.
Additionally, Surfshark has been fully audited by Cure53 to ensure that no logs are kept in any shape or form.
On the other hand, IPVanish located inside the United States is susceptible to all kinds of surveillance, monitoring, tracking, and recently helped out Homeland Security.
It maintains a full connection log without providing any support for any form of cryptocurrency.
|Static IPs||6+ Locations||None|
Both VPNs offer vastly different configurations as far as IP addresses are concerned. Surfshark offers its users the chance to use both dynamic and static IPs.
These reside in more than 6+ locations spread across different countries. However, IPVanish lacks any access to static IPs, which is quite alarming.
Both off NAT Firewall ensuring no unwanted incoming traffic by decrypting packet headers. IPVanish does need to improve on their offerings, though!
|Searchable Knowledge Base||Yes||Yes|
|Average Email Response Time||31 Minutes||55 Minutes|
|Live Chat Support||Yes||Yes|
Surfshark’s customer support has become something of a benchmark in the VPN industry. They are warm and professional in how they handle requests.
Regardless of how generic or technical a question might be, the team handles each query with professionalism and stays continuously in touch to ask if I have other problems.
IPVanish has no dedicated searchable database, making it more difficult than it should be to find relevant information about the service.
There are no video guides or such making it increasingly difficult to assess what interface or features to expect once users buy the product.
|Question||Initial Response Time||Number of Emails||Question Answered|
|Is Surfshark suitable for Android?||25 Minutes||1||Yes|
|Does Surfshark work with Netflix?||39 Minutes||1||Yes|
|Can I Use Surfshark on Multiple Devices?||20 Minutes||1||Yes|
|How to Activate Obfuscation on Surfshark?||27 Minutes||1||Yes|
|Question||Initial Response Time||Number of Emails||Question Answered|
|Why Is IPVanish based in the US (Five Eyes Member)?||30 Minutes||1||Yes|
|Is IPVanish a good option for gaming?||42 Minutes||1||Yes|
|Does IPVanish work with Netflix and other VoDs?||37 Minutes||1||Yes|
|How do I get a refund from IPVanish?||52 Minutes||1||Yes|
The Winner: Surfshark
At the end of this grueling duel, Surfshark surpasses its competitor in every department. In simple words, it offers users better value for their money.
There is no reason why you should not opt for Surfshark as it tops every category, making it one of the best VPN providers on the market today.