Are there substantial differences between the two? Well, there sure are. While ExpressVPN, as the name implies, is the fast one, PIA is the more affordable option. But that’s not all there is. Let’s get into more details.
Privacy – Where’s the Jurisdiction?
ExpressVPN was fast to take the lead. It’s based in the British Virgin Islands, which is an excellent offshore jurisdiction. The VPN is politically and legally independent from external influences. To ensure the highest possible security levels, ExpressVPN also undergoes regular audits. Better yet, it hasn’t been part of any issues and privacy-related scandals in the past.
Unfortunately, we cannot say the same for Private Internet Access. Even though the VPN promises to prioritize its users’ privacy, it’s headquartered in the US. And if you have at least a bit of experience with Virtual Private Networks, you are sure aware; US companies have been forced to hand over customer data a bunch of times in the past.
However, more importantly, both ExpressVPN and PIA claim to keep no activity logs and no connection logs.
Security - It’s A Tie
ExpressVPN offers the best-in-class 256-bit encryption by default. However, you can also use ChaCha20/Poly1305 encryption with the Lightway protocol. The provider also comes with Network Lock, the ExpressVPN kill switch, VPN split tunneling, TrustedServer security, and private, encrypted DNS.
Private Internet Access provides AES-128 (CBC) as the default option. However, you can also get AES-128 (GCM), AES-256 (CBC), AES-256 (GCM), or no encryption at all (avoid this option at all cost). Furthermore, the VPN comes with PIA MACE, malware filters, and the classic Kill Switch feature.
In short, both providers are remarkable in terms of security features. So, it’s safe to say it’s a tie.
Speed – Who’s #1 In Performance?
ExpressVPN has 160 servers in 94 countries. The best part about this provider is its well-dispersed network with many locations in the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa.
Going on, ExpressVPN supports several tunneling protocols, Lightway, OpenVPN (UDP/TCP), IKEv2/IPsec, and L2TP/IPsec. In turn, PIA VPN provides WireGuard, OpenVPN (UDP/TCP), and IKEv2/IPsec as options.
In theory, Private Internet Access comes close to ExpressVPN with its 29,300 servers in 78 countries, all of which are physical P2P.
However, in practice, there’s a whole another truth. See, ExpressVPN is one of the fastest providers on the market. So, it’s rare for a VPN even to come close to its quality. And it’s far less likely to exceed it in this regard. Most of all, it’s due to Lightway, ExpressVPN’s in-house tunneling protocol.
Apps and Compatibility – Simultaneous Connections
Both VPNs are easy to set up and navigate. However, ExpressVPN is incredibly convenient. It works on computers, phones, tablets, routers, browsers, and more. It covers popular solutions, such as Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Routers, along with Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. Better yet, it works with Kindle Fire, smart TV systems, Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and game consoles.
Private Internet Access is a bit more limited in this regard. It works exclusively with major apps and browsers.
Now, with ExpressVPN, you can simultaneously use a single subscription for up to five devices. PIA VPN takes this to another level, providing better support for up to ten devices.
Streaming Options – Major Differences Between the Two
When it comes to ExpressVPN, you can easily stream and download any content you want. The best part is, it comes with unlimited bandwidth and remarkable speeds. The VPN is compatible with popular streaming apps, such as Netflix, HBO, or Disney+. However, it also works with social media platforms, messaging and tools, games, music, education, and so on.
Unfortunately, PIA is on the whole other side of the spectrum. It falls way behind ExpressVPN since it doesn’t provide any of the mentioned features.
Customer Support – Another Draw
Private Internet Access VPN provides for an extensive Knowledgebase, ticketing system, and live chat option. However, according to customer reviews, the live chat agents might not be as helpful and responsive as they should be.
Luckily, with ExpressVPN, you can get all the support you’ll ever need. The provider has a Knowledgebase, Troubleshooting tool, 24/7 live chat, and email support.
Pricing – PIA Is Much More Affordable
PIA VPN is the clear winner when it comes to pricing. In general, its cost makes PIA different and gives the company an advantage over its competitors.
ExpressVPN is far more expensive, probably among the most costly VPNs on the market.
Still, both PIA and ExpressVPN come with 30-day money-back guarantees. So, you can get either of these VPNs, no strings attached.
Private Internet Access (PIA), in turn, is too limited in comparison. The only advantage over ExpressVPN is its price. Still, it’s a quality VPN on its own, providing for reliable connections and ease of use.