NordVPN vs Private Internet Access (PIA) Comparison

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Private Internet Access and NordVPN are both linchpins in the VPN niche – and deciding which one to go for can be downright frustrating. 

And to help you make a better choice than you’ll not live to regret, we have tested and analyzed both NordVPN and Private Internet Access, and we have a comprehensive report, which will help you make a rational decision. 

In the test and analysis, NordVPN came to in six disciplines, PIA, on the other hand, managed to be top in three classes. Finally, both tied in one category. 

NordVPN vs Private Internet Access (PIA)

Trial Period30 days7 days
Lowest Price$3.71/mth$2.19/mth
Plans1 month, 1 year, 2 years1 month, 1 year, 2 years
Encryption256-bit AES/OpenVPN, IPSec & IKEv2128-bit AES (default), OpenVPN and more
Average Speed Loss5.5%11.9%
Simultaneous Connections610
Server Locations5976
5, 9 and 14 Eyes MemberNoYes
Coupon2 year-plan at 68% off + 3 months free83% off for three years plan
ReviewNordVPN ReviewPrivate Internet Access VPN Review

1. Speed test

Before we proceed, it’s essential to know that both NordVPN and Private Internet Access are exceptional when it comes to speed. 

That said, let’s first have a look at NordVPN speed: 

NordVPN has servers in Europe, which makes it perform exceptionally well. When we did all speed tests in Europe, the results were positive – 90 Mbps and 105 Mbps download speed. 

NordVPN is popular in the United Kingdom and also the most preferred in terms of speed in the region. 

When we carried out the speed tests in a nearby location – Germany, we still got a brilliant result – 105 Mbps download speed. 

The only drawback we noticed with NordVPN was that it wasn’t fast when we tested it in the United States and Canadian servers. 

Since we have looked at the speed tests for NordVPN, now let’s take a look at PIA’s speed tests. 

When we tried to test the speed of PIA with servers nearby Europe, we discovered that the speed wasn’t that good. For example, Sweden gave us a result of 74 Mbps. 

Private Internet Access VPN service was slower than NordVPN across Europe – with speed ranging between 65 and 85. These are not bad speed, but they are lower compared to what we found out with NordVPN. 

Good news, though: Private Internet Access provided excellent speeds when tested across the United States. 

The speeds tested across the United States and Canada fell between 55 and 67. These are not very good speeds, but they are way better than what NordVPN produced. 

Winner for speed: Tie

2. Reliability

Private Internet Access and NordVPN are good in terms of reliability, but PIA is exceptional. 

Like we mentioned above, NordVPN has variability in its speed network servers. 

A couple of times, the connections were stable and fast, but when tested in the United States, there were variables. In a nutshell, PIA was reliable in terms of speed. 

That said, Private Internet Access was reliable; connections were super fast and were consistent too. 

In conclusion, Private Internet Access beat NordVPN in this. Therefore, if your primary priority is reliability, be sure to check out Private Internet Access. 

Reliability winner: PIA 

3. Features

Both NordVPN and PIA have excellent features, but there must be one that is exceptional. 

First, let’s break down what Private Internet Access has to offer: 

  1. Leak protection settings
  2. A couple of encryption settings
  3. Ad Blocker (PIA MACE)

In conclusion, we would say that Private Internet Access VPN is minimal because it has nothing spectacular to offer, but you’ve got to think twice, especially when you need reliability.

On the other hand, NordVPN offers the following features: 

  1. Double-VPN servers, which means that you are encrypted twice in two different servers 
  2. Tor-over-VPN servers, which means that you are encrypted over a VPN, then via Tor network 
  3. NordVPN offers its users kill switch feature, as well as leak protection settings
  4. CyberSec that helps its users block ads, malware, or “spying.”
  5. Obfuscated servers 
  6. Ability to access Netflix and other geo-restricted streaming services

Features winner: NordVPN

4. Connections

Which VPN service will give you the most connections – NordVPN or Private Internet Access? 

In March 2019, PIA did an increment in all their packages, and guess what? They also increased the number of connections. Below is their update: 

“This price increase will allow us the ability to provide you with new features without sacrificing security or privacy. Visible changes include the new look of our Desktop application as well as the increase of our device limit from 5 to 10.”

If by any chance, you need multiple connections, then Private Internet Access will be a better option for you as compared to NordVPN. 

On the other hand, NordVPN allows up to six connections simultaneously. Below is their release: 

“With a single NordVPN account, you can connect up to 6 devices simultaneously without compromising your online security and privacy of one device for another.”

And with that comparison, Private Internet Access emerges as the winner with up to 10 simultaneous connections. 

Connections winner: PIA

5. Security

Both Private Internet Access and NordVPN are excellent when it comes to security; both have secure applications that aids in the protection of your data. That said, we did not find any leaks in IP address or DNS with either. 

Even though we did not find any DNS or IP address leaks with both, NordVPN still carries the day because of its higher level of security. For example, NordVPN offers some excellent features such as double-VPN servers, as well as Tor-over-VPN servers. 

With the above features, rest assured that your data is safe whenever you are carrying out any activity on the internet. Besides, NordVPN offers two unique kill switches: 

  • App-level kill switch, which will automatically shut down any app when your VPN connection drops 
  • Internet kill switch that will help in blocking any traffic in case your VPN stops 

While Private Internet Access also offers kill switch and leak protection, it doesn’t have double encryption, as in the case of NordVPN, which makes NordVPN win in this category. 

Security winner: NordVPN

6. Logging policies

If you give preference in logging policies, both Private Internet Access and NordVPN are good options. We have verified the logging policies of both VPN services. 

We proved that Private Internet Access has no logs policy in two instances: 

  • In 2019, Private Internet Access was involved in a criminal case, and they maintained that they had no logs and only give access to their IP address servers and not their customers’ data. 
  • In June 2018, Private Internet Access was once again involved in a criminal court case, and they maintained their no logs policy. 

On the other hand, NordVPN has been tested and proven by a third-party audit. We looked into the audit and verified that NordVPN has no logs policy. 

Logging policy winner: Tie

7. Jurisdiction

In terms of jurisdiction, NordVPN is better than Private Internet Access. Additionally, NordVPN has a no-logs policy, which aims at protecting their customers. This is because it is located in Panama. 

On the other hand, Private Internet Access is based in the US, and the US has always been seen as an inferior privacy jurisdiction because of their mass surveillance practices, their involvement with surveillance nations, and data collection. 

That said, Private Internet Access VPN has no logging, which they claim on their website, and we can question their jurisdiction. 

If you worry a lot about jurisdiction, then NordVPN should be your pick as compared to Private Internet Access. 

Jurisdiction winner: NordVPN

8. Torrenting

There are a ton of people who love torrenting, and they would do anything to get a VPN service provider that offers excellent torrenting services, no matter what. 

Both Private Internet Access and NordVPN are excellent when it comes to torrenting, so you don’t have to fret. 

While the two VPN service providers offer excellent torrenting services, there is something that sets them apart – port forwarding, provided by Private Internet Access, and not NordVPN. 

Private Internet Access states on their website that port forwarding is valuable to users who would want to optimize their torrenting speeds. 

If you are already a Private Internet Access VPN customer or client, who wants to use the port forwarding feature, activate the function from the settings, then connect it to any of the servers that allow port forwarding. It is important to note that not every Private Internet Access VPN server will work with this feature. 

Finally, port forwarding is available on Mac, Windows, and Android. If you’d want to use it in any of the above-operating systems, you are good to go. 

Torrenting winner: PIA

9. Netflix and streaming

It’s no secret that people love streaming from popular streaming sites such as Hulu, Netflix, among others. So what’s the best VPN service between the two? 

Well, if you want to stream, especially from Netflix, then NordVPN will be your perfect match. NordVPN offers high-quality streaming of geo-restricted streaming services such as Netflix, and that could be the reason why a ton of people prefer NordVPN. 

When you try to stream Netflix using Private Internet Access, you will continuously get an error message, which can be downright frustrating, especially if you are following your favorite TV series like Power or Gotham. In short, Private Internet Access VPN gets blocked by Netflix, which means you can’t use it as your ‘weapon’ to gain access to Netflix. 

And while it is true that accessing Netflix without a VPN service can prove hard, there are a few notable VPN service providers that work hand-in-hand with Netflix. 

This could be because some of these VPN service providers invest heavily in getting and maintaining IP addresses that favor Netflix. 

That’s why NordVPN is the best VPN and will remain the best if you want to stream geo-restricted streaming websites such as Netflix. 

If you have invested in NordVPN, rest assured that you will be able to access most of these geo-restricted streaming websites, including Netflix, and watch your favorite TV series episodes such as House of Cards. 

Not only is NordVPN a better option when it comes to streaming from Netflix, but also top-notch if you want to gain access to different Netflix versions around the world. That’s why NordVPN service takes the day in this category. 

And we are aware that there are tons of VPN service providers that can unblock geo-restricted streaming websites such as Netflix, but NordVPN is still top-notch considering several factors.

Streaming winner: NordVPN

10. Price

Let’s now base our focus on price and see which one will suit or fall within your budget bracket. 

In terms of pricing, both Private Internet Access and NordVPN are affordable; that means that if you are serious about investing in a VPN service, nothing can hold you back. 

Now, NordVPN starts at as low as $3.49/ month + three months of free access. On the other hand, Private Internet Access’s package starts at $5.49/ month, but it has a better value of $2.49/ month if you choose their yearly plan. 

We noted above that Private Internet Access boosted the number of connections a user may have – from 5 to 10, and as a result, it increased their subscription rates. However, interested or aspiring PIA users can still get excellent offers like the yearly plan. 

It is also important to note that before Private Internet Access VPN service increased their rates, the pricing was more than affordable. It’s a no brainer that the feature (number of simultaneous connections) they added is way essential than the pricing. 

There is no significant difference between the pricing of both. It just depends on your preferences. If you feel like Private Internet Access is your go-to VPN service provider, then you will only dig a little deeper into your pocket – no extraordinary difference. 

The only disadvantage you may meet is that you will have to choose the 3-year plan if you want to have access to the $3.49 monthly subscription fee. 

The same applies to Private Internet Access. It’s not a bad idea, though. Feel free to invest in any of the VPN service providers after you have carefully reviewed what’s in their packages. 

One thing you need to remember is that cheap is expensive, and don’t compromise a feature just because of the difference in pricing. 

Price winner: TIE

Payments and refunds

Again, we have a tie in the payments and refunds/ money-back guarantee policy. Below are the reasons why: 

  • Private Internet Access has a variety of payment options for their customers
  • On the other hand, NordVPN provides the best money-back guarantee window 

When it comes to payment options, Private Internet Access will beat NordVPN hands down. This is because Private Internet Access has a ton of payment options, including a ton of cryptocurrencies and gift cards, which you can always buy with cash if you so wish. 

On the other hand, NordVPN does not provide the option to make payments using PayPal or other cryptocurrencies apart from Bitcoin. 

In terms of the money-back guarantee, NordVPN beats Private Internet Access hands down. It provides its customers with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can check this policy from their website. 

And the best of all is that the 30-day money-back guarantee applies to all their packages, so it doesn’t matter what package you are subscribed to. 

On the contrary, Private Internet Access only offers a 7-day money-back guarantee. According to some VPN users, seven days is a little time to identify the loopholes of a VPN service. They feel like that’s a trick. Other VPN users are comfortable with the 7-day money-back guarantee, though. 

In a nutshell, NordVPN wins when it comes to the money-back guarantee policy. On the other hand, Private Internet Access beats NordVPN in terms of payment options available. 

Therefore, it is a tie between the two giants. 

Payments and refunds winner: Tie

Final Verdict: Which Service is Better?

We can’t deny the fact: value is hard to measure, and it will depend on several factors.

And finally, the question of which VPN service has the best value for money? 

We can conclude that NordVPN has a better value for your money because it is affordable and also offers a ton of features to its customers like: 

  • Top-notch privacy and security features in terms of Double-VPN servers as well as Tor-over-VPN servers
  • Extensive server network compared to Private Internet Access 
  • NordVPN offers two different types of kills switches 
  • With NordVPN, you are assured of 24/7 customer support. On the contrary, Private Internet Access only provides ticket support.
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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