|Back to Review|| |
Private Internet Access
|Price starts from||$2.99||$3.49|
|Devices per license||6||5|
|Privacy and security features||OpenVPN, 256-bit AES encryption||AES 256-bit, PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN.|
|Torrenting, Netflix, HBO|
|Money Back Guarantee||30 days||7 days|
|Setup time||4 minutes||-|
|Number of servers||5,154||3059|
|Payment Methods||PayPal, Visa/Mastercard, American Express, Discover Card, Bitcoin, Webmoney, Alipay||Paypal, Visa/Mastercard, American Express, Bitcoin, AmazonPay, WebMoney, YandexMoney, Zcash|
|Usability and Support||24/7 Live Chat, Email, Knowledge base, Video Tutorials||Forum, Email, Knowledge base, Video Tutorials|
|Best For||Privacy, Travel, Streaming, Sports||-|
|Platforms||Windows, Mac, Android, Linux, IOS||Windows, Mac, Android, IOS|
|Visit Site||Visit Site|
At first glance, NordVPN and Private Internet Access have much in common. They are both compatible with Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS. They both allow manual installation of the service on Linux, set-top boxes, and routers. Both have no split tunneling.
So, we wanted to compare the two providers to see whether there are any fundamental differences between them. Now, we are ready to share our findings. Below are the description and comparison of strong and weak points each provider has. In fact, some of the things are quite significant, and that is what helped us to pick the winner in the end.
Let’s start with the price since often it plays a decisive role in the decision-making process.
The monthly subscription to NordVPN appears to be almost twice as expensive as the 1-month subscription to PIA ($11.95 compared to $6.95). The proportion doesn’t change with the 1-year subscription. NordVPN yearly plan will cost you $6.99/month while PIA charges $3.33/month.
But if you decide to purchase the next long-term plan, the difference becomes less significant. Therefore, if you choose to stick to NordVPN for two years the price will go down to $3.99; PIA’s 2-year plan is $2.91/month. The cost becomes almost the same if you purchase a 3-year plan from NordVPN – $2.99/month only. PIA does not offer longer subscriptions.
Both providers allow protecting several connections simultaneously, but NordVPN has a small advantage, with six devices permitted while PIA allows five connections only. Also, NordVPN offers a 30-day money-back guarantee which is significantly longer than PIA’s 7 days.
Privacy & Security
A reliable VPN should protect users’ privacy well, and make your Internet connections secure.
In the case with NordVPN and PIA, you have nothing to worry about. Both of them offer AES-256 protection and use OpenVPN (default), PPTP and L2TP/IPSec protocols. NordVPN also added IKEv2 to their protocol family. It is worth noting that PIA is set to 128-bit AES cipher by default, but you can change that easily if you need stronger protection.
While both providers have a strict no-logs policy, NordVPN is based in Panama. In this way is not subject to strict regulations about data retention. This provider was the first one in the industry to complete an audit of its no-logs policy and the results are impressive.
Meanwhile, PIA may experience legal pressure from security agencies since it falls under strict US jurisdiction. The good news is so far they haven’t provided any specific users’ information in court because they simply had nothing to share.
Finally, both providers allow paying in cryptocurrencies which guarantees additional anonymity.
Both NordVPN and PIA offer an industry-leading set of extra features. However, NordVPN has more to offer to its users. People who strive for better privacy will appreciate the double encryption feature along with dedicated IP addresses. Residents of countries with the heavily censored Internet will benefit from obfuscated servers. By offering these extras, NordVPN appeals to a broader audience, if compared to PIA.
Servers Network and Speed
When choosing a VPN, servers network matters a lot. The speeds you get and unblocking of geo-restricted content depend on the number of available servers. Well, NordVPN appears to be much stronger on that. It boasts 5100+ servers in 62 countries while PIA has 3000+ servers in 30 locations. An impressive difference.
We also decided to compare the speeds on the providers’ servers in the same locations. In both cases, we observed decent speeds, however, PIA performed better. And this is what influenced our decision regarding the winner in this category. Mind though that we are physically located in Europe, which means the results may differ if you connect to the same servers, say, from Asia.
PIA: download 81.23 Mbps, upload 39.45 Mbps
NordVPN: 75 Mbps, upload 48.91 Mbps
The US (Chicago)
PIA: download 78.10 Mbps, upload 36.99 Mbps
NordVPN: download 57.03 Mbps, upload 30 Mbps
Torrenting and Streaming
If you need a VPN to enjoy streaming and torrenting, both NordVPN and PIA are a good choice. They are fast, secure and operate good networks of servers.
However, NordVPN restricts torrenting to 500+ servers located in 37 countries while PIA does not have torrenting limits. At the same time, mind that PIA reroutes the torrent traffic and this might increase the latency and slow down the speeds. Therefore, you may want to use P2P-optimized servers for torrenting.
Both providers give access to Firestick, Kodi, Hulu, Popcorn Time. But what makes NordVPN stand out is its ability to unblock Netflix and BBC iPlayer. It is especially notable since Netflix is literally on war with VPNs. In fact, the majority of virtual private networks have given up the attempts to ensure stale Netflix access. So, applause to NordVPN.
NordVPN vs PIA: Ease of Use
Simplicity when using the VPNs is another factor we considered. We checked desktop and mobile apps of each provider and also picked the winner. All of them are easy and quick to install.
But NordVPN’s desktop app appears to be more user-friendly. The main page looks like a map and allows selecting the desired location. Plus, you can customize your settings easily and choose the way to connect to VPN, change protocols etc.
PIA locates its app on the taskbar. You need to right-click the icon to access the features. The advanced settings might look confusing to novice users. Also note that you can’t choose a specific server with PIA, just a country.
Talking about mobile apps, both providers have easy-to-use ones. PIA’s interface is more minimalistic but the settings menu is impressive.
Both providers offer solid knowledge bases with answers to the most common questions you may encounter when downloading, installing and using the apps. The information on the websites is well structured and the search box makes it easier to find an appropriate article by keywords.
Still, if you need to contact the support teams, the two services are not equal. NordVPN offers a ticket submission system via email and a 24/7 live chat, while PIA allows sending an email from their website only. It is worth noting, though, that PIA has a separate customer support Twitter account which may substitute the traditional live chat on the website.
We sent queries to both companies using the online form and it took 3,5 hours longer to get an answer from PIA than from NordVPN. But both answers were detailed enough to help us solve the issue.
NordVPN and Private Internet Access are both strong and reliable services. But NordVPN appears to be a better option both for new and experienced users. And we have good reasons to say that.
First, NordVPN is better in unblocking top streaming platforms and it has a bigger network of servers than PIA. Second, NordVPN has a larger variety of features and protocols to take care of your security.
Also, it is more simple to get assistance from NordVPN when you have a problem. It takes a few seconds to get hold of the support team via live chat and a few minutes to resolve an issue.
Finally, NordVPN is ready to return you the money within one month after you purchased the service. This is more impressive than PIA’s 7-day money back guarantee because you have more time to try the VPN on different devices and in different periods of day and night.
And if the price is your only concern when choosing between NordVPN and PIA, simply purchase a 3-year. If you happen not to like it, you’ll have a whole month to change your mind.