Surfshark Vs IPVanish VPN Comparison 2020

Last updated: April 21, 2020
Muhammad Hamza Shahid

Muhammad Hamza Shahid

Check out this in-depth Surfshark vs IPVanish comparison, where we assess both providers over 12 factors for determining the winner!

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!

Highlights

SurfsharkIPVanish
  1. 1040+ Servers in 61+ Countries
  2. Dynamic/Static IPs Available
  3. Unlimited Simultaneous Connections
  4. Apps for All Platforms/Devices
  5. Verified No Logs Policy (Audited)
  1. 1300+ servers in 75+ countries
  2. Dedicated IPs Available
  3. 10 Simultaneous connections
  4. 256-bit AES Encryption
  5. 7-Day Money-Back Guarantee

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 offer83% Off on a 24-Months Plan73% Off on a 12-Months Plan
Highest price per month$11.95$5.00
Lowest price per month$1.99$3.25
One-Year Price$71.88$39
Money-Back Guarantee30-Days7-Days

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.

Features

SurfsharkIPVanish
Simultaneous ConnectionsUnlimited10
Operating System AppsWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TVWindows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux
Manual Install DevicesSet-Top Boxes, Routers, and LinuxSome Routers
Split TunnelingYes (All Apps)Yes (Android Only)
Free ExtrasShadowsocks Support, Hacklock, Blindsearch, NoBorders Mode, TrustDNSBrowser 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.

Unblocking Capabilities

SurfsharkIPVanish
NetflixYesNo
HuluYesNo
Sky GoYesYes
Amazon PrimeYesNo
BBC iPlayerYesNo
ABSYesYes
CBSYesYes
NBCYesYes
ITVYesYes
Channel 4YesYes

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.

China

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

SurfsharkIPVanish
Automatic Setup WizardWindows, Mac, Android, iOSWindows, Mac, Android, iOS
Main Location SelectionList-basedList-based
Extra Settings PagesYesYes
Mobile FriendlyYesYes

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.

Surfshark Streaming Mode

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.

IPVanish Setup Interface

Severs and Performance

SurfsharkIPVanish
Server Countries6151
Total Number of Servers1,040+1,300+

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.

Speed

SurfsharkIPVanish
Speed Loss10.1%25%

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%.

Security

SurfsharkIPVanish
VPN ProtocolsL2TP, IPSec, IKEv2, Shadowsocks, OpenVPNPPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN
OpenVPN Data EncryptionAES-256AES-256-GCM
OpenVPN Control Channel EncryptionRSA-2048 RSA-2048
Cloaking TechnologyShadowsocksOpenVPN Obfuscation
App SecurityKill Switch, Wi-Fi, DNS/WebRTC/ IP Leak ProtectionKill Switch
DNS StatusTrustDNSPrivate 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.

Leak Tests

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:
DNS 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!

Privacy

SurfsharkIPVanish
HeadquartersThe British Virgin IslandsUnited States
Connection LogsNoneNone
Activity LogsNoneNone
Sign Up InformationEmail AddressEmail Address
Anonymous Payment MethodsMonero, Dash, Gridcoin, Apple, ZCaas, Ehterum, Litecoin, BitcoinNone

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.

Configuration

SurfsharkIPVanish
Address AllocationShared/StaticShared
Static IPs6+ LocationsNone
DDoS ProtectionYesYes
NAT FirewallYesYes

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!

Customer Service

SurfsharkIPVanish
Video GuidesYesYes
Searchable Knowledge Base YesYes
Phone SupportNoNo
Email SupportYesYes
Average Email Response Time31 Minutes55 Minutes
Ticket SupportYesYes
Live Chat SupportYesYes

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.

Surfshark

QuestionInitial Response TimeNumber of EmailsQuestion Answered
Is Surfshark suitable for Android?25 Minutes1Yes
Does Surfshark work with Netflix?39 Minutes1Yes
Can I Use Surfshark on Multiple Devices?20 Minutes1Yes
How to Activate Obfuscation on Surfshark?27 Minutes1Yes

IPVanish

QuestionInitial Response TimeNumber of EmailsQuestion Answered
Why Is IPVanish based in the US (Five Eyes Member)?30 Minutes1Yes
Is IPVanish a good option for gaming?42 Minutes1Yes
Does IPVanish work with Netflix and other VoDs?37 Minutes1Yes
How do I get a refund from IPVanish?52 Minutes1Yes

The Winner: Surfshark

Surfshark is the Winner

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.

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