Surfshark vs. IPVanish 2024 — Which VPN Is Best for You?

Ahmed Khaled
Ahmed Khaled Writer
Updated on: June 21, 2024
Fact Checked by Hazel Shaw
Ahmed Khaled Ahmed Khaled
Updated on: June 21, 2024 Writer

Short on Time? Here’s the Final Verdict:

  • 🥇 Surfshark  — Winner in Extra Features, Servers, Speeds, Streaming, and Pricing. Surfshark has 3,200+ servers in 100 countries, comes with more extra features, provides better streaming support, is faster, and has more affordable plans.

Surfshark and IPVanish are popular VPN providers. They have great security (including a kill switch and an audited no-logs policy), excellent torrenting support, and both allow unlimited device connections.

In addition, Surfshark and IPvanish also have:

  • Perfect forward secrecy.
  • Obfuscation.
  • DNS leak protection.
  • Tor (The Onion Router) support.
  • Split-tunneling.

However, there are noticeable differences between the two. Surfshark has 3,200+ in 100 countries, maintains fast speeds on nearby servers, has really good streaming support, and comes with extra features like an ad blocker. On the other hand, IPVanish has 2,400+ servers in 56 countries, doesn’t consistently work with major streaming platforms, and is noticeably slow on nearby and distant servers.

I tested and compared both Surfshark and IPVanish across different metrics, including security, additional features, privacy, server networks, speeds, streaming support, torrenting, gaming, bypassing censorship, ease of use and cross-platform compatibility, plans and pricing, and customer support. I think Surfshark is slightly better than IPVanish, but I recommend reading the entire article to determine which VPN is best for you.

Try Surfshark Now (30 Days Risk-Free)

Surfshark vs. IPVanish — Quick Overview

Surfshark IPVanish
💸Starting Price Starts at $2.19 / month Starts at $2.19 / month
📱 Number of Devices Unlimited Unlimited
🔐Security 256-bit AES encryption,
No-logs policy (audited).
Kill switch,
DNS leak protection,
Perfect forward secrecy,
RAM-only servers
256-bit AES encryption,
No-logs policy (audited).
Kill switch,
DNS leak protection,
IPv6 leak protection,
Perfect forward secrecy.
🌍 Number of Servers 3,200+ servers in 100 countries 2,400+ servers in 56 countries
⚡️ Speeds Good speeds on nearby servers, but noticeable slowdowns on distant servers Noticeable slowdowns on nearby and distant servers
🎥Streaming Support Works with Netflix, Max, Amazon Prime, and BBC iPlayer Works with Netflix
🔽P2P Support ✅ (3,200+ servers in 100 countries) ✅ (2,400+ servers in 56 countries)
💻 Apps iOS,
Android,
Windows,
macOS,
Linux,
Android TV,
Fire TV,
Chromebook
iOS,
Android,
Windows,
macOS,
Android TV,
Fire TV,
Chromebook
❓Customer Support 24/7 live chat,
Email support,
In-depth support library
24/7 live chat,
Email support,
In-depth support library,
Phone support
💰 Money-Back Guarantee 30 days 30 days (long-term plans only)

Security — Both VPNs Are Very Secure

256-bit AES Encryption No-Logs Policy Kill Switch Leak Protection RAM-Only Servers Perfect Forward Secrecy
Surfshark DNS leak protection
IPVanish DNS leak protection, IPv6 leak protection

Both provide really strong security, as they come with the following industry-standard security features:

  • 256-bit AES encryption. Ensures nobody can spy on you by making all of your online traffic unreadable. It’s the same type of encryption that the military uses.
  • No-logs policy. Prevents the VPN provider from logging your browsing traffic and IP address (which can reveal your location).
  • Kill switch. Protects from data leaks by disabling your internet traffic when your VPN connection drops.

But only IPVanish provides DNS and IPv6 leak protection — Surfshark only offers DNS leak protection. That said, I ran 10+ leak tests with each VPN on multiple servers, and I never experienced any leaks. And, only Surfshark uses RAM-only servers, which never store any data to the hard drive. Plus, it wipes all data with every reboot.

Security — Both VPNs Are Very Secure

The good news is both providers have perfect forward secrecy, which changes the encryption key for each VPN session, preventing cybercriminals from compromising past or future encryption keys. Both Surfshark and IPVanish offer multiple protocols, including WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2/IPSec, which are secure and fast.

Security — Both VPNs Are Very Secure

Surfshark also lets you secure your account with two-factor authentication. This way, you’re able to verify each login attempt with a time-sensitive code generated by an app or security key — it prevents unauthorized attempts to get into your account.

Winner (Security): It’s a tie

It’s hard to pick a winner between IPVanish and Surfshark in terms of security. Both provide industry-standard VPN security features, use perfect forward secrecy, and support secure VPN protocols. Although IPVanish offers DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and Surfshark only comes with DNS leak protection, IPVanish doesn’t have RAM-only servers and two-factor authentication and Surfshark does.

Extra Features — Surfshark Has More Extra Features

Split-Tunneling Obfuscation Blocks Ads Blocks Malicious Sites Tor Support Smart DNS Other Features
Surfshark Dynamic MultiHop, NoBorders, IP Rotator, Speed test, Override GPS Location
IPVanish SOCKS5

Surfshark comes with tons of extra features, while IPVanish only has a few.

Both VPN services provide split-tunneling, which lets you choose which traffic goes through the VPN tunnel and which traffic uses your internet service provider’s (ISP) network. But Surfshark’s split-tunneling is more convenient because it lets you split-tunnel both apps and sites, whereas IPVanish only lets you split-tunnel apps.

Extra Features — Surfshark Has More Extra Features

Surfshark and IPVanish also have obfuscation, which masks your VPN traffic as regular internet traffic. This provides an extra layer of privacy if you don’t want your ISP to know you’re using a VPN.

Extra Features — Surfshark Has More Extra Features

But only Surfshark comes with an ad blocker (called CleanWeb), which blocks ads, third-party trackers, and malicious sites. In my tests, it blocked all ads, except for some pop-up ads, and stopped me from visiting shady sites 100% of the time.

Plus, it’s great that both VPNs support Tor traffic on all servers. This way, all you have to do to secure your data before accessing the dark web is connect to any server. But only IPVanish also has SOCKS5 proxy support, which changes your IP address without encrypting traffic for faster P2P speeds.

And, only Surfshark comes with a smart DNS, which lets you use a VPN on devices that don’t natively support VPN apps, such as certain smart TVs and gaming consoles.

Surfshark has a few extra features, which IPVanish lacks, including:

  • Dynamic MultiHop. Routes your traffic through 2 VPN servers instead of just 1 server to provide more security.Extra Features — Surfshark Has More Extra Features
  • IP Rotator. Periodically changes your IP without changing your location or disconnecting you from the VPN server.
  • Built-in speed test. Lets you determine which servers provide the fastest speeds, though it’s unfortunately not 100% accurate.
  • Override GPS Location. An Android feature that matches your VPN location to your GPS location to make it difficult for mobile streaming apps to detect and block VPN connections.Extra Features — Surfshark Has More Extra Features

Winner (Extra Features): Surfshark

When it comes to additional features, Surfshark is the clear winner. While both VPNs offer split-tunneling, obfuscation, and Tor support, Surfshark also comes with an ad blocker, smart DNS, Dynamic MultiHop, IP Rotator, and Override GPS Location.

Privacy — Both VPNs Are Great for Privacy

Logs User IP Addresses Logs User Traffic Audited No-Logs Policy Headquarters Open-Source Apps
Surfshark The Netherlands (inside the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances)
IPVanish The US (inside the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances)

Surfshark and IPVanish have strict no-logs policies. They don’t collect user data including IP addresses, web activities, or downloaded files. I really like that Surfshark and IPVanish have had their no-logs policies audited. On top of that, Surfshark has undergone security audits on its browser extensions and server infrastructure.

Privacy — Both VPNs Are Great for Privacy

Both Surfshark and IPVanish are based in countries that are part of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances (a group of countries that share data with each other). However, Surfshark and IPVanish both have strict no-logs policies so they wouldn’t have any data to share even if compelled to do so.

Privacy — Both VPNs Are Great for Privacy

But only Surfshark supports cryptocurrency payments, which provide an extra layer of privacy compared to regular payment methods.

Winner (Privacy): It’s a tie

Both Surfshark and IPVanish are privacy-friendly, as they have strict no-logs policies that have been independently audited. Although both VPNs are based in 5/9/14 Eyes countries, their no-logs audit prevents them from sharing any user data with authorities.

Servers — Surfshark Has a Better Server Network

Number of Servers Number of Countries Virtual Locations P2P Servers Obfuscated Servers
Surfshark 3,200+ 100 ✅ (3,200+ servers in 100 countries) ✅ (3,200+ servers in 100 countries)
IPVanish 2,400+ 56 ✅ (2,400+ servers in 56 countries) ✅ (2,400+ servers in 56 countries)

Both VPN providers have large server networks, but Surfshark has a larger server count with 3,200+ servers in 100 countries, compared to IPVanish’s 2,400+ servers in 56 countries. A larger server network means you’re less likely to connect to an overcrowded server, which can slow it down. It also helps you connect to nearby servers for fast speeds.

Servers — Surfshark Has a Better Server Network

Only Surfshark uses virtual servers, which provide you with an IP address from the country you connect to but are physically located elsewhere. Although some may believe that virtual servers aren’t safe, this isn’t true — they’re just as safe as physical servers. I tested all of Surfshark’s virtual servers, and I was always assigned the correct IP address. I also ran a couple of leak tests and I didn’t experience any leaks.

Servers — Surfshark Has a Better Server Network

Both VPNs support torrenting, obfuscation, and Tor traffic on all servers. On top of that, Surfshark has Dynamic MultiHop servers that let you create custom double VPN connections by selecting whichever entry and exit servers you want.

Winner (Servers): Surfshark

It was a close call, but Surfshark has the better server network. It has 3,200+ servers in 100 countries, while IPVanish has 2,400+ servers in 56 countries. Although both VPNs support torrenting, obfuscation, and Tor traffic on their servers, Surfshark has also Dynamic MultiHop servers.

Speeds — Surfshark Wins This Round

Surfshark Nearby Servers IPVanish Nearby Servers Surfshark Distant Servers IPVanish Distant Servers
Website load time Instantly 3 seconds 2–3 seconds 5–6 seconds
HD video load time 1–2 seconds 5–6 seconds 3 seconds 6 seconds
HD video buffering (minor buffering)
4K video load time 3 seconds 8–9 seconds 5 seconds 13–15 seconds
4K video buffering (minor buffering)
Time to download a 20 GB file 16–17 minutes 29–32 minutes 24–26 minutes 42–44 minutes

In my tests, Surfshark was much faster than IPVanish. With Surfshark, I consistently had fast speeds for all my online activities — including streaming, torrenting, and browsing — on nearby servers, and minimal slowdowns on distant servers.

While connected to Surfshark’s nearby servers, sites loaded instantly, HD videos loaded in 1–2 seconds, 4K videos took 3 seconds to load, and I didn’t experience any buffering while streaming. Downloading a 20 GB file took me only 16–17 minutes, which is good. On distant servers, sites took 2–3 seconds to load, and there was only minimal buffering on 4K videos.

Speeds — Surfshark Wins This Round

IPVanish’s speeds were noticeably slower, especially when connected to distant servers. On nearby servers, HD videos loaded in 3 seconds, and 4K videos took 5 seconds to load and there was minor buffering when I skipped through them. On distant servers, sites and HD videos took 5–6 seconds to load, and I had to wait at least 13 seconds for videos in 4K quality to load.

Speeds — Surfshark Wins This Round

Winner (Speeds): Surfshark

Overall, Surfshark is the faster option. It offers reliable speeds for streaming, torrenting, and browsing on nearby and distant servers. IPVanish’s speeds were decent, but they were still noticeably slower on both nearby and distant servers.

Streaming — Surfshark Comes Out on Top

Number of Streaming Services the VPN Works With Works With Netflix Works With BBC iPlayer, Max, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ Smart DNS
Surfshark 50+ Works with all sites except Disney+
IPVanish Unknown

In terms of streaming, Surfshark significantly outperforms IPVanish. Surfshark works with 50+ streaming services, while IPVanish couldn’t provide me with an exact number.

Streaming — Surfshark Comes Out on Top

Both VPNs work with Netflix well — but IPVanish only works with Netflix US (as confirmed by my US colleagues), while Surfshark’s customer support team confirmed it works with 15+ Netflix libraries, including Netflix US, Netflix UK, and Netflix Japan. This means if you’re using a VPN and live in any of these countries, you shouldn’t have a problem accessing your home library.

Streaming — Surfshark Comes Out on Top

And Surfshark works with other top streaming services, such as BBC iPlayer, Max, Disney+, and Amazon Prime. On the other hand, IPVanish is limited to Netflix.

Also, only Surfshark has a smart DNS, which allows you to use a VPN on devices that don’t support VPN apps. Although the setup for this tool requires manual configuration, Surfshark offers helpful tutorials and the process takes only a few minutes.

Winner (Streaming): Surfshark

ٍSurfshark easily comes on top in streaming support compared to IPVanish. It works with 50+ streaming platforms, including popular ones like BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime. It also has a smart DNS feature. In contrast, IPVanish only works with Netflix US.

Torrenting — Both VPNs Are Great for Torrenting

P2P Servers Works With Top P2P Apps Port Forwarding SOCKS5 Proxy Support Kill Switch No-Logs Policy
Surfshark 3,200+ servers in 100 countries (independently audited)
IPVanish 2,400+ servers in 56 countries ✅ (independently audited)

Both Surfshark and IPVanish offer strong P2P support. They allow torrenting across all of their servers, which is very convenient. Surfshark has over 3,200+ servers in 100 countries, while IPVanish has 2,400+ servers in 56 countries.

Torrenting — Both VPNs Are Great for Torrenting

Both VPN providers also work well with popular P2P clients, such as Vuze, Deluge, and qBittorrent, and I didn’t experience any issues with any torrenting client during my tests.

However, only IPVanish offers SOCKS5 proxy servers. These servers replace your IP address with one from the country you’re connected to, but they don’t encrypt your traffic, which allows for faster download speeds.

I really like that both VPNs have good security for torrenting. They have a kill switch, a no-logs policy that has been independently audited and verified, and DNS leak protection (only IPVanish has IPv6 protection). But only Surfshark has an ad blocker that can block ads on P2P sites and stop you from accessing shady torrenting websites.

Torrenting — Both VPNs Are Great for Torrenting

Winner (Torrenting): It’s a tie

Both Surfshark and IPVanish offer great support for torrenting. They allow P2P traffic on all their servers, work with top P2P apps, and provide strong privacy and security features for torrenting. IPVanish also has SOCKS5 servers, which can speed up P2P downloads, while Surfshark has an ad blocker that can block ads and prevent you from visiting shady torrenting sites.

Gaming — Both VPNs Are Really Good for Gaming

Ping on Local Servers (Egypt) Ping on Distant Servers (the US) Lag-Free Gaming Anti-DDoS Protection Router Support Cloud Gaming Support
Surfshark 27–30 ms 160–180 ms ❌ (only minor lag, not game-breaking)
IPVanish 27–33 ms 149–167 ms ❌(noticeable lag sometimes)

When it comes to gaming, each VPN provided me with a good experience. During my tests, I played several matches of Dota 2 with both VPNs and had low ping and fast speeds on nearby servers. However, on distant servers, I experienced higher ping and minor lag with Surfshark, but it never affected my gaming experience. With IPVanish, I had stable ping but sometimes experienced noticeable lag on distant servers.

Gaming — Both VPNs Are Really Good for Gaming

I like that both VPNs protect against Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks. Also, they both have anti-DDoS protection on their servers, so nobody can DDoS your connection to their servers. Plus, both providers allow for router setups, which means you can use them on devices that don’t support VPN apps, such as gaming consoles.

It’s worth noting that only IPVanish has cloud gaming support, which lets you access platforms that stream video games to portable devices, like GeForce Now. Still, Surfshark worked with popular cloud gaming platforms in my tests.

Gaming — Both VPNs Are Really Good for Gaming

Winner (Gaming): It’s a tie

Both Surfshark and IPVanish provide a great gaming experience, with low ping and fast speeds on nearby servers (and some lag on distant servers). They also provide protection against DDoS attacks and allow for router setups, but only IPVanish has cloud gaming support.

Bypassing Censorship — I Don’t Recommend Either VPN

Obfuscation Works in China Bypassing Censorship — I Don’t Recommend Either VPN Works in Russia Bypassing Censorship — I Don’t Recommend Either VPN Works in IranBypassing Censorship — I Don’t Recommend Either VPN Works in Indonesia Bypassing Censorship — I Don’t Recommend Either VPN Works in Saudi Arabia Bypassing Censorship — I Don’t Recommend Either VPN
Surfshark
IPVanish Maybe

Bypassing Censorship — I Don’t Recommend Either VPN

Unfortunately, neither VPN is great for use in restrictive countries. Representatives from both providers told me that they can’t guarantee the VPN would work in restrictive countries like China, Iran, or Saudi Arabia. IPVanish said its service works in Indonesia and might work in Russia, but that’s not good enough.

Bypassing Censorship — I Don’t Recommend Either VPN

Instead, I recommend getting ExpressVPN. It has a proven track record of getting around censorship and works without any issues in countries like China and Iran — which is why it’s #1 on our list of best VPNs for bypassing censorship.

Winner (Bypassing Censorship): None

I don’t recommend Surfshark and IPVanish for bypassing censorship. Instead, I suggest getting ExpressVPN because it always works in restrictive countries.

Apps & Ease of Use — Both VPNs Are User-Friendly

iOS App Android App Windows App macOS App Linux App Smart TV App Router Support Other Apps
Surfshark ✅ (Android TV, Fire TV) Chromebook
IPVanish ✅ (Android TV, Fire TV) Chromebook

Both Surfshark and IPVanish offer user-friendly apps for major platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Android TV, Fire TV, and Chromebook. However, only Surfshark provides a dedicated app for Linux. Both VPNs also support manual router setups for users who prefer to protect all devices on their network from one place

And they each have feature-rich mobile apps that are easy to navigate and provide helpful explanations for all settings. Surfshark has more extra features, but it’s not any harder to use.

Apps & Ease of Use — Both VPNs Are User-Friendly

On desktop, both VPNs offer easy-to-use apps. I like that IPVanish’s apps come with a digital map where you can locate and connect to servers. But Surfshark also has tons of convenient features like a configurable quick-connect tool. In my tests, both desktop apps worked well without any bugs or crashes.

Winner (Apps & Ease of Use): It’s a tie

Surfshark and IPVanish have user-friendly apps for all major platforms, support manual router setups, and provide helpful tutorials. While Surfshark provides a dedicated Linux app and has more features, both VPNs offer a great user experience on desktop and mobile.

Plans & Pricing — Surfshark Is More Budget-Friendly

Starting Price Free Plan Simultaneous Connections Payment Options Money-Back Guarantee
Surfshark $2.19 / month Unlimited credit/debit cards
PayPal
Google Pay
Amazon Pay
cryptocurrencies
30 days
IPVanish $2.19 / month Unlimited credit/debit cards
PayPal
Google Pay
30 days (long-term plans only)

Surfshark and IPVanish are affordable and allow unlimited connections, but Surfshark’s plans are cheaper and offer better value.

Surfshark has 3 different plans available — a 1-month plan, a 1-year plan, and a 2-year plan. The longest plan is the cheapest and starts at only $2.19 / month.

Plans & Pricing — Surfshark Is More Budget-Friendly

IPVanish offers monthly and yearly subscriptions, with a 1-month, a 1-year, and a 2-year plan available. The longest plan provides the best savings, with prices starting at $2.19 / month.

Plans & Pricing — Surfshark Is More Budget-Friendly

Surfshark accepts more payment options, including credit/debit cards, PayPal, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, and cryptocurrencies. IPVanish, on the other hand, only accepts credit/debit cards, Google Pay, and PayPal.

Finally, both VPNs have a 30-day money-back guarantee, but only Surfshark backs all of its plans with it — IPVanish’s refund only covers the longest plans.

Winner (Plans & Pricing): Surfshark

Surfshark is more affordable than IPVanish since its plans start at $2.19 / month. It also accepts more payment methods, making it more convenient. Both VPNs offer unlimited connections and a 30-day money-back guarantee, but only Surfshark backs all plans with its refund policy.

Customer Support — Both VPNs Are Great Options

Live Chat Email Support FAQs Tutorials Troubleshooting Guides Phone Support
Surfshark ✅ (24/7)
IPVanish ✅ (24/7)

Surfshark and IPVanish both offer comprehensive customer support options, including live chat, email support, frequently asked questions (FAQs), tutorials, and troubleshooting guides.

Surshark and IPvainsh both have 24/7 live chat, which I personally prefer. It typically took less than 10 seconds to connect to a live rep with each VPN, which is really good. What’s more, the reps were always really friendly and able to provide me with helpful answers.

Customer Support — Both VPNs Are Great Options

I also tested each VPN’s email support at random times throughout the week. Both Surfshark and IPVanish’s email support reps replied in less than a day and were very helpful. I also really like that IPVanish offers phone support since few VPNs do. It’s available in the US, Mexico, the UK, Germany, Australia, Brazil, and Spain from 9am to 5pm (UTC-6).

Customer Support — Both VPNs Are Great Options

Winner (Customer Support): It’s a tie

Both VPNs provide great customer support. They each offer a comprehensive support library, 24/7 live chat, email support, and knowledgeable representatives. Plus, IPVanish is one of the only VPNs that offer phone support.

Overall Winner: Surfshark

Surfshark offers great value for its price. It comes with strong security and privacy features, 3,200+ servers in 100 countries, unlimited connections, and works with 50+ streaming platforms. It also provides great P2P support, comes with a very good ad blocker, and has easy-to-use apps for most devices.

IPVanish also offers strong security and privacy features, has good torrenting support, allows unlimited connections, and comes with user-friendly apps for most devices. It has 2,400+ servers in 56 countries and is decent for gaming.

Surfshark is a great pick for 2024, offering a larger server network, faster speeds, better streaming support, more extra features, and a better price point compared to IPVanish. It is the VPN I recommend most between the two.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Surfshark better than IPVanish?

In my opinion, yes, Surfshark is better than IPVanish. It offers more features, a larger server network, faster connection speeds, and works with more streaming sites. However, both VPNs offer strong security, privacy, and good gaming support.

Which is faster — Surfshark or IPVanish?

Surfshark is faster than IPVanish. In my tests, Surfshark maintained consistently fast speeds for browsing, streaming, and torrenting on nearby servers, and I only experienced minor slowdowns on distant servers. IPVanish provided decent speeds, but there were noticeable slowdowns on both nearby and distant servers.

Do Surfshark or IPVanish work with Netflix?

Both Surfshark and IPVanish can work with Netflix. However, Surfshark is compatible with 15+ Netflix libraries, whereas IPVanish only works with Netflix US.

Which is better for torrenting — Surfshark or IPVanish?

Both VPNs are great for torrenting. They allow P2P traffic on all their servers, work with top P2P apps, and provide strong privacy and security features. IPVanish also has SOCKS5 proxy support, which can speed up P2P downloads, while Surfshark has an ad blocker that can block ads on P2P sites and stop you from visiting malicious torrenting sites.

Read more about the best VPNs in 2024

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About the Author
Ahmed Khaled
Updated on: June 21, 2024

About the Author

Ahmed is a former tech writer at SafetyDetectives with a keen interest in online privacy and cybersecurity. He has been writing tech articles since 2018, covering a wide range of topics that aim to provide the general public with information about how various apps and tools work as well as tips and tricks on how to best use the latest tech products. He’s also pursuing a medical degree with a clinical research interest. In his free time, Ahmed enjoys exploring new technologies, spending time with his family, traveling, and playing video games.

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