PIA vs Nordvpn

Private Internet Access (PIA) and NordVPN are both big players. They have been leading the market for years now. So, it’s only understandable why they would look the same to the “casual eye.” However, if you take a deeper look, especially from an expert’s perspective, these two are widely different.
We compare the features, pricing, ease of use, support and speeds of PIA and NordVPN.
Article by
Stephen Mash

Stephen is a UK-based freelance technology writer with a background in cybersecurity and risk management.

About writer

Contents

Compare ratings

Rating
PIA logo
NordVPN logo
Features
9.3
9.7
Pricing
9.2
8.0
Ease of Use
8.6
9.6
Support
8.8
9.8

Reviews by experts

Reviews
Review by our expert
PIA logo
9.5

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a premium VPN service based in the US that focuses on being simple and easy to use for a targe...

Read all
Article by
Stephen Mash
Last modified:
2021-07-26 12:23
NordVPN logo
9.0

NordVPN is a premium VPN service based in Panama that markets itself as having one of the best performances thanks to its bespo...

Read all
Article by
Stephen Mash
Last modified:
2021-07-26 12:23

Side-by-Side Comparison

Private Internet Access
Pricing
Monthly
$9.95
Yearly
$39.95 (equivalent to $3.33 per month)
Three yearly
$79 (equivalent to $2.19 per month)
Payment Methods
card_amazon_pay Created with Sketch.
Parallel Connections
10
Server Locations
75+ Countries
Jurisdiction
United States of America
Protocols
OpenVPN
WireGuard
IPsec (IKEv2) on iOS
Encryption
AES 128 CBC/GCM
AES 256 CBC/GCM
Handskaing SHA96/SHA160/SHA256
Speeds
Private Internet Access VPN Server Locations Download Upload
United Kingdon 173.79 Mbit 87.37 Mbit
Australia 240.41 Mbit 20.21 Mbit
China 340.28 Mbit 1.4 Mbit
South Africa 16.38 Mbit 35.44 Mbit
California, USA 316.32 Mbit 14.23 Mbit
New York, USA 147.4 Mbit 25.34 Mbit
Germany 79.82 Mbit 149.91 Mbit
Taiwan 167.48 Mbit 0.94 Mbit
Spain 82.95 Mbit 122.37 Mbit
Brazil 130.67 Mbit 30.3 Mbit
NordVPN
Pricing
Monthly
$11.95
Yearly
$59 (equivalent to $4.92 per month)
Two yearly
$89 including discount and three free months (equivalent to $3.30 per month)
Payment Methods
card_amazon_pay Created with Sketch.
Parallel Connections
6
Server Locations
60 Countries
Jurisdiction
Panama
Protocols
IPsec (IKEv2)
OpenVPN (UDP or TCP)
NordLynx (Built on WireGuard)
Encryption
AES 256 GCM
Speeds
NordVPN VPN Server Locations Download Upload
United Kingdon 732.38 Mbit 352.96 Mbit
Australia 148.82 Mbit 19.61 Mbit
Taiwan 81.91 Mbit 41.36 Mbit
South Africa 241.08 Mbit 15.89 Mbit
Arizona, USA 449.54 Mbit 8.99 Mbit
New York, USA 547.48 Mbit 31.71 Mbit
Germany 545.48 Mbit 96.32 Mbit
Spain 632.41 Mbit 128.17 Mbit
Brazil 390.1 Mbit 26 Mbit
Indonesia 124.18 Mbit 10.54 Mbit
Private Internet Access
NordVPN
Pricing
Monthly
$11.95
Yearly
$59 (equivalent to $4.92 per month)
Two yearly
$89 including discount and three free months (equivalent to $3.30 per month)
Monthly
$11.95
Yearly
$59 (equivalent to $4.92 per month)
Two yearly
$89 including discount and three free months (equivalent to $3.30 per month)
Payment Methods
card_amazon_pay Created with Sketch.
card_amazon_pay Created with Sketch.
Parallel Connections
10
6
Server Locations
75+ Countries
60 Countries
Jurisdiction
United States of America
Panama
Protocols
OpenVPN
WireGuard
IPsec (IKEv2) on iOS
IPsec (IKEv2)
OpenVPN (UDP or TCP)
NordLynx (Built on WireGuard)
Encryption
AES 128 CBC/GCM
AES 256 CBC/GCM
Handskaing SHA96/SHA160/SHA256
AES 256 GCM
Speeds
Private Internet Access VPN Server Locations Download Upload
United Kingdon 173.79 Mbit 87.37 Mbit
Australia 240.41 Mbit 20.21 Mbit
China 340.28 Mbit 1.4 Mbit
South Africa 16.38 Mbit 35.44 Mbit
California, USA 316.32 Mbit 14.23 Mbit
New York, USA 147.4 Mbit 25.34 Mbit
Germany 79.82 Mbit 149.91 Mbit
Taiwan 167.48 Mbit 0.94 Mbit
Spain 82.95 Mbit 122.37 Mbit
Brazil 130.67 Mbit 30.3 Mbit
NordVPN VPN Server Locations Download Upload
United Kingdon 732.38 Mbit 352.96 Mbit
Australia 148.82 Mbit 19.61 Mbit
Taiwan 81.91 Mbit 41.36 Mbit
South Africa 241.08 Mbit 15.89 Mbit
Arizona, USA 449.54 Mbit 8.99 Mbit
New York, USA 547.48 Mbit 31.71 Mbit
Germany 545.48 Mbit 96.32 Mbit
Spain 632.41 Mbit 128.17 Mbit
Brazil 390.1 Mbit 26 Mbit
Indonesia 124.18 Mbit 10.54 Mbit

Comparison Review

So, let’s put PIA and NordVPN side by side. Here, you can put a comprehensive comparison, including privacy and security features, speed, streaming, compatibility, and support. At last, you can compare the providers in price, and decide whichever is more worth spending your money.

Let’s check; in which aspects do these differ and up to which degree?

Privacy – NordVPN Scores a Point

PIA is located in the US, the epicenter of the Five Eyes, which is not that great of news. The authorities can easily knock on the provider’s doors and ask for users’ data. Still, PIA states that it doesn’t gather any activity logs. The authorities have also requested PIA for data on several occasions in the past. Fortunately for you, PIA didn’t comply.

Private Internet Access further protects your privacy, location, and content you access. Better yet, it has a strict no-logs policy, hides your IP address, and allows for anonymous payment methods, third-party gift cards, and cryptocurrencies.

PIA no logs

Source: https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/online-privacy

When it comes to NordVPN, you will be able to sleep more peacefully. The VPN is headquartered in a privacy-friendly location in Panama. Sure, PIA is good. However, NordVPN takes things to another level.

It has a much more clear privacy policy. If the authorities ask for data, the VPN will have nothing to show, which is highly reassuring. Even an independent audit by PwC has confirmed this fact!

Furthermore, NordVPN provides multi-factor authentication, masks your IP, KillSwitch, Onion Over VPN, a Dedicated IP, and No data leaks. So, it’s only natural for it to take the lead.

NordVPN features

Source: https://nordvpn.com/features/

Security – It’s 0:2 For Now

Every VPN out there will add to your security. The question is, to which degree? At this point, you should look for advanced features to better compare different providers.

PIA uses trusted, open-source VPN protocols, such as OpenVPN and WireGuard. It also has advanced encryption settings, split tunneling, reliable automation rules, built-in ad and malware blocking, and a WireGuard protocol.

NordVPN also comes with WireGuard, ad, and malware blocking. It features double IP protection and obfuscated servers, Tor over VPN, and leak protection.

At first sight, you might think, it’s more or less the same. However, NordVPN truly stands out if you get into the underlying technologies. Thus, it provides better security than PIA.

Speed – The Number of Servers Isn’t the Top Priority

PIA has a global network with 29,300 P2P, reliable servers in 78 countries, optimized for 10 Gbps and lightning-fast speeds. And the best part is, you can get unlimited bandwidth without throttling the speeds.

PIA servers

Source: https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/vpn-features/fastest-vpn

NordVPN provides fewer servers or a total of 5,190 servers in 60 countries worldwide. Still, it has a better distribution, with locations in the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa, Middle East, and India.

NordVPN servers

Source: https://nordvpn.com/servers/

We tested the two providers in different server locations, where both have a presence, including Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, and the UK. It’s safe to say that NordVPN performed better in all server locations.

Apps and Compatibility

With PIA, you can get simultaneous access on up to ten devices on all major apps, such as Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and Apple iOS. It also works on Chrome, Firefox, and Opera.

PIA fast

Source: https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/vpn-features/fastest-vpn

NordVPN provides a much broader selection, including Playstation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, firestick, and so on. Better yet, you can install it on your router. If not, it can support up to six devices at the same time.

NordVPN apps

Source: https://nordvpn.com/download/other/

Streaming Options – Once Again, NordVPN

NordVPN beats PIA in streaming options. It provides uninterrupted streaming without buffering anytime, anywhere. With this VPN, you can enjoy a full range of streaming content, including sports, from official channels.

NordVPN features

Source: https://nordvpn.com/features/streaming/#:~:text=By%20routing%20your%20stream%20through,streaming%20experience%20on%20the%20planet.

In turn, PIA might work with US Netflix or unblock YouTube content. Yet, that’s more or less all about it.

Customer Support – 24/7 Is a Must

You can find all necessary information regarding VPNs in the guides and FAQs from both NordVPN and PIA. Better yet, they both promise 24/7 support.

However, when we got to testing, NordVPN once again won the contest. Its agents were much more friendly and knowledgeable to solve the issues.

Pricing

As mentioned, the cost of a VPN should be your last priority. Still, it would help if you had a provider that fits your budget.

PIA is the more affordable alternative of the two. However, there’s a price-benefit trade-off, as explained over the review.

PIA pricing

Both VPNs come with 30-day money-back guarantee policies. So, you can test them out safely, without risking your money. If you are not satisfied with the services, you can always get a refund.

NordVPN pricing

Source: https://nordvpn.com/pricing/

Conclusion

I think it’s pretty clear – NordVPN is the winner. It provides more advanced features than Private Internet Access in most categories, except for the price. Still, keep in mind, we are getting into as many details as possible. PIA is a top-notch provider, and it can also provide a smooth customer experience. So, if it better suits your budget, you might go for it as well!