ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access (PIA) [2022 Comparison]

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We can’t deny the fact that both Private Internet Access (PIA) and ExpressVPN are popular VPN service providers across the world. And in this post, we are going to do a comparison using different categories, declare a winner in each of the categories, then give the final verdict in the end. But before that, below are the essential updates you should know: 

  • Kape Technologies has taken over Private Internet Access. Kape Technologies is known for producing adware and malware. 
  • Recent tests between the two VPN service provider giants now reveal the king in the VPN service industry.

ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access Comparison

1. Company and jurisdiction

Now, the catch in this comparison category is that Kape Technologies joined forces with Private Internet Access. Below are some of the critical issues you need to know about this sudden move:

  • Kape Technologies produces adware and malware, which means that they don’t respect your privacy as well as don’t care about your security. 
  • Kape is planning to change its name to Private Internet once their merger agreements are done. 

While the merger may not be a significant issue to some VPN users, the truth is that some Private Internet Access users have raised eyebrows and even canceled their packages with PIA. 

In terms of jurisdiction, PIA is located in the U.S. And being that the United States is a Five Eyes country, we can comfortably say that it’s a country that does not respect the privacy of its citizens. 

It is also important to note that both the United States and the United Kingdom have the worst jurisdictions in terms of privacy across the world. 

Unlike PIA, we have not heard of any alliance that exists between ExpressVPN and another company. ExpressVPN is a popular VPN service provider across the world, and there are no chances that it will be bought by any company, though you must be watchful at all times because you cannot judge from the look of things. 

In terms of ExpressVPN jurisdiction, ExpressVPN is located in the British Virgin Islands. And the good news is that ExpressVPN does not cooperate with any of the surveillance companies. Best of all is that ExpressVPN is politically, as well as independent, and no external influence can break it.

Company and jurisdiction winner: ExpressVPN

2. Speed tests

We tested both VPN service providers, and we can hint that there is a clear winner when it comes to VPN speeds, and the winner is ExpressVPN. 

We carried out all our speed tests using OpenVPN with 256-AES encryption through a wired connection of 160 Mbps. To start with, we did tests with nearby ExpressVPN, as well as Private Internet Access servers. We also carried out tests with nearby PIA servers. In Austria, we got a result of 85 Mbps. 

The next test we carried out was in the United Kingdom. In the U.K, we got a result of 147 Mbps using ExpressVPN. On the other hand, PIA speeds were half as fast as compared to ExpressVPN, giving us a result of just 65 Mbps. 

This is not pathetic, and it may not even worry some VPN users, but the truth is that it’s not the best VPN service provider when speed is at the top of your priorities. 

And it is also essential that we say that during our process of comparing both VPN service providers in terms of speed, we realized that ExpressVPN was faster compared to Private Internet Access. 

Finally, these speed test results also match with the feedback we have collected via emails and comments. It is, therefore, no secret that ExpressVPN is way faster than Private Internet Access, although we cannot claim that PIA is weak in terms of speed. And like we said earlier, if speed is your top concern, you better go for ExpressVPN. 

Winner for speed: ExpressVPN

3. Reliability

When emphasizing on reliability, we must base our focus on the following: 

  • Apps – Do you experience bugs or crashes with your apps? 
  • Connections – Can you carry out your operations without any inconveniences? Is your VPN reliable enough such that it doesn’t disconnect quite often? 
  • Speeds – What about your speeds? Are they consistent in allowing you to carry out your online activities from the beginning to the end? 

In this category, let’s first start with ExpressVPN. 

ExpressVPN is a reliable VPN service provider. This is because their apps are always stable, and it’s rare to experience dropped connections, crushes, or buts. In short, ExpressVPN is reliable. 

And like we said in the speed category, ExpressVPN is consistent in speed. That said, let’s now center our focus on the reliability of Private Internet Access. 

Like ExpressVPN, Private Internet Access is also reliable, and you can count on it. Its applications work pretty well without any crushes or bugs. This is good news to people who consider reliability more than anything else when choosing a VPN service provider. 

And while you may be asking why it is reliable, yet it isn’t that good in speed, the truth remains that Private Internet Access still has reliable performance that one can rely on. 

Reliability winner: Tie

4. Prices and refund policies

In this section or rather, category, we will take a closer look at the prices of each of the VPN service providers to see which one is most affordable. This should help you, especially if you have a tight budget.

Private Internet Access price

Arguably, we can say that Private Internet Access is more affordable because their rates dropped to $3.49 if you choose the 2-year package. 

If we go by value, Private Internet Access isn’t a bad bet. We understand that Private Internet Access tries to limit your VPN, but the rates are quite realistic, especially if you go for the 2-year package. We must say that it is affordable and straightforward as compared to a premium product. 

For the money-back guarantee, PIA has a 7-day money-back guarantee to all its first-time users. This is a shorter period as compared to ExpressVPN, which gives 30 days on all its packages, which is inclusive of the monthly packages. 

ExpressVPN price

ExpressVPN is way more expensive as compared to Private Internet Access. Their default subscription plan is $8.32 if you choose to go by their yearly plan. The good news, though, is that ExpressVPN offers a discount of free for three months, then drops to $6.67 every month. 

While it is true that ExpressVPN is way more expensive as compared to Private Internet Access, the truth is that it offers way better services in terms of speed, security, quality, access to geo-restricted streaming sites. 

In terms of the refund policy, ExpressVPN gives its users a 30-day refund if you don’t get impressed with their services within 30 days. ExpressVPN will happily refund your money back with no questions asked if you choose to opt-out before 30 days elapses. 

Winner: Tie

5. Features

Both Private Internet Access and ExpressVPN have exceptional features, but definitely, we will have a winner in this category. 

First, let’s take a look at some of the Private Internet Access features: 

  • PIA MACE – this is an ad blocker
  • Kill switch – DNS leak protection and IP leak

While Private Internet Access claims to be able to access geo-restricted streaming sites, but we have found out that it often gets blocked by some of these geo-restricted streaming sites. 

Now, let’s take a look at some of the features of ExpressVPN: 

  • Split tunneling, which is available on macOS, Windows, as well as routers application
  • Kill switch and leak protection – DNS, IPv4, IPv6
  • Obfuscation features – this helps with breaking restrictive networks like China, where VPNs could be blocked 
  • Large selection of apps

And while the issue of accessing geo-restricted sites is not a feature, ExpressVPN is one of the VPN service providers that provides its users with access to geo-restricted websites, such as Netflix. Additionally, ExpressVPN was named the best Kodi VPN as it has a ton of excellent apps that you can use on any of your devices. It is important to note that ExpressVPN is an excellent choice when your top priority is streaming geo-restricted sites such as Netflix, Hulu, among others. 

ExpressVPN’s obfuscation is vital when you need to use a VPN for China, a country that blocks VPNs. In China, using PIA will be a waste of time, but you can be assured of better services with ExpressVPN. 

Winner with features: ExpressVPN

6. support

Support is one of the vital things you should consider when choosing a VPN service provider because you may need help with something – maybe help setting up something. And in this category, ExpressVPN will emerge the victor. 

ExpressVPN offers its users 24/7 customer support with no login required. We have tested the support on their website on several occasions, and they are exceptional at how they serve their customers. Additionally, ExpressVPN is professional and doesn’t keep you long in the queues. 

Therefore, if your top priority is customer support, then you should not hesitate to go with ExpressVPN. 

On the other hand, Private Internet Access doesn’t have customer live support. You only have the option to reach Private Internet Access via email, which may take long before they respond to your query. 

Worst of all is that you could be too many in the queue, which may even delay your response. When we tested Private Internet Access’ customer support, we found out that they respond to emails within 24 hours. 

But there’s one drawback we found with Private Internet Access. It takes too long to process your refund as it has to pass through a ton of people, which results in delays. 

We have witnessed several complaints about PIA’s customer support in this area, but it seems like they have improved immensely following their customers’ complaints. 

Support winner: ExpressVPN

7. Streaming

One of the reasons why people use VPN service providers is to unblock geo-restricted streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, among others. And because of this, we tested these two VPN service providers to see who emerges king. 

Let’s first start with Private Internet Access. We found out that PIA couldn’t unblock Netflix, which means you’ll be blocked from accessing American Netflix. And while Private Internet Access claims that it can unblock Netflix, our test results show otherwise. 

On the other hand, we found out that ExpressVPN could unblock Netflix. We must say that the quality was exceptional, and there were no issues with the playback, which makes us conclude that ExpressVPN is the best if you are looking to stream from geo-restricted websites such as Netflix, Hulu, among others. 

Streaming winner: ExpressVPN

8. Security

Before we let you know of our results, we must say that both VPN service providers offer top-notch security to their users. 

ExpressVPN uses secure encryption – AES 256-bit, as well as an SHA-512 HMAC authentication. Additionally, ExpressVPN offers its users a “Network Lock” kills switch. Also, ExpressVPN uses the TrustedServer feature to run their servers. This helps in bolstering the security of its users. 

Private Internet Access also offers its users secure encryption, but you can modify handshake, data encryption, and authentication. But while the option to modify may impress some users, the fact remains that Private Internet Access does not offer more robust encryption as compared to ExpressVPN. 

Finally, you must know that Private Internet Access does not have a TrustedServer feature, which makes ExpressVPN the winner in this category. 

Security winner: ExpressVPN


ExpressVPN wins

From the above comparisons, you can see that the overall winner is ExpressVPN. 

Even though ExpressVPN is way expensive as compared to Private Internet Access, you still need a better value. The overall features of ExpressVPN make it the go-to-VPN. 

We recommend you to try out ExpressVPN if you have the capability. This is because it has much more value as compared to Private Internet Access. 

Felix Olsson

Felix Olsson

Felix Olsson is a VPN and web security expert. He is a tech enthusiast who loves testing VPN services and the latest developments in the cybersecurity world. You'll often find him either reading privacy policies or testing a new service or device.

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