NordVPN vs Private Internet Access (PIA): Are They Safe to Use?

NordVPN vs PIA VPN Comparison BannerDeciding which VPN to get for your personal or business needs can turn into a challenging thing, especially if you narrow down your options to only two. If you have NordVPN and PIA tabs open in your browser and can’t decide which one is better, you are at the right place.

 NordVPNPrivate Internet Access
Download Speed:148.71 Mbps63.24 Mbps
Features:

DoubleVPN

Tor-over-VPN

Obfuscated servers

P2P support

SOCKS5 proxy

OpenVPN,L2TP/IPSec

Server number:5,497 servers13,224
Security:256-bit AES256-bit AES
Data logging:Strict no-log policyStrict no-log policy
Jurisdiction:PanamaUnited States
Streaming services:Works great with all streaming platformsUsers reported issues on Netflix
Price:$83.88 / year$39.95 / year
Refund policy:7-day money-back guaranteeNo money-back guarantee

Private Internet Access vs NordVPN: Speed Test and Performance 

We’ve conducted a thorough analysis of both VPNs’ speeds. Our baseline no-VPN internet speed was around 160 Mbps. To ensure that the test was good and valid, we’ve decided to choose the USA as the main location because it is quite far.

The test results go as follows:

Private Internet Access speed test results: 

  • Ping – 97 ms
  • Private Internet Access Download Speeds – 63.24 Mbps

NordVPN speed test results:

  • Ping – 101 ms
  • NordVPN Download Speeds – 148.71 Mbps

To ensure that we give a fair chance to both VPNs, we’ve performed another test using the Switzerland servers. The results go as follows:

Private Internet Access speed test results: 

  • Ping – 28 ms
  • Upload – 9.28 Mbps
  • Private Internet Access Download Speeds – 85.14 Mbps

NordVPN speed test results:

  • Ping – 30 ms
  • Upload – 9.54 Mbps
  • NordVPN Download Speeds – 150.76 Mbps

As you can see, both tests have shown that in the speed performance category, NordVPN is the winner.

Features 

There is a reason why NordVPN and PIA are considered some of the best VPN service providers. They both offer many features to make the use of the VPN easy, secure, and reliable.

The NordVPN network is huge, and it consists of more than 5,500 servers with access points in 60 countries.PIA’s network is also large, and it consists of more than 3,300 servers placed in 32 countries.

The NordVPN feature list goes like this:

✅ 256-bit AES, IKEv2/IPSec, and OpenVPN

✅ CyberSec

✅ Double VPN

✅ No-logging policy

✅ Kill switch

✅ DNS/IP leak protection

✅ Onion Over VPN

✅ P2P support

✅ Dedicated IP address

✅ Easy to use

✅ VPN app

NordVPN also offers some other amazing features, namely:

✅ Leak protection – to ensure that no DNS information is ever leaked

✅ Obfuscated servers – which conceal VPN traffic just like standard HTTPS encryption. This is especially useful for connecting to Chinese servers which are very difficult to bypass.

PIA’s list of features includes:

✅ Secure VPN Account

✅ Encrypted Wi-Fi

✅ P2P Support

✅ 256-bit AES, PPTP, OpenVPN, and L2TP/IPsec

✅ Support for 10 devices

✅ Blocks ads, trackers, and malware

✅ Multiple VPN gateways

✅ Unlimited bandwidth

✅ SOCKS5 Proxy

✅ No-logging policy

✅ Instant setup

✅ VPN app  

It is important to note that, while Private Internet Access has DNS leak protection, there were some flaws found when using their proxy. Namely, an error occurred that affected Chrome users.

Somehow, their DNS data was leaked. Private Internet Access has reported that the issue was fixed. Moreover, to ensure that this doesn’t happen again, they recommend using the browser extension and desktop clients simultaneously.

Features that are unique to NordVPN include:

✅ DoubleVPN – the technology that routes user data through 2 VPN servers, thus making it more secure and virtually impossible to hack;

✅ Onion over VPN – support for TOR browser for users who want even more security;

✅ CyberSec – efficient tool designed to block ads, trackers, and online malware;

✅ Dedicated IP address.

PIA, on the other hand, offers SOCKS5, which allows users to connect to PIA VPN servers via proxy and support for 10 simultaneous connections.

Security: Encryption & Protocols 

When it comes to security, both VPN providers offer some noteworthy features. Let’s discuss encryption first:

  • Private Internet Access encryption – PIA uses the current industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption with SHA256 authorization, as well as RSA-4096 handshake.
  • NordVPN encryption – NordVPN also uses military-grade 256-bit AES encryption with SHA256 authorization and RSA-4096 handshake.

Kill Switch is another important security feature to be on the lookout for. Luckily, both NordVPN and Private Internet Access offer a kill switch feature.

An important criteria for establishing the security level of these VPN providers is third-party security auditing. This is important because it builds trust between the brand and the user, and it ensures that the company has nothing to hide.

NordVPN has decided to partner with Versprite, which is a cybersecurity firm that does independent security auditing. They agreed to conduct a full audit of all NordVPN’s apps, as well as their cybersecurity infrastructure. They will also assess all third-party vendors where NordVPN’s servers are based. Lastly, they will perform frequent penetration testing, as well as other security checks.

Unfortunately, Private Internet Access hasn’t undergone any security checks.

Lastly, let’s talk about NordVPN vs Private Internet Access server security. NordVPN runs all its servers in RAM-disk mode, which is the safest way. This method ensures that no data is stored on physical hard drives. However, Private Internet Access doesn’t run servers in RAM-disk mode.

Privacy Logging Policy 

PIA and NordVPN have strict no-logging policies. These two VPN providers don’t track, record, or store user information, traffic, and IP addresses.

PIA VPN

However, it is important to note that PIA is based in the USA, which is a part of the 14-eyes agreement. This agreement entails that all participants’ intelligence agencies have to share user information with one another. Hence, they can try to force VPN providers that are based in the 14-eyes countries to hand over user data.

However, PIA has recognized this issue and decided to make things impossible for intelligence agencies. For those reasons, they decided to delete all user data and store absolutely nothing. So, even if a legal entity tries to force them to share user info, they will have nothing to share with them. 

NordVPN

NordVPN, on the other hand, is based in Panama which isn’t a part of the 14-eyes. Panama has some great privacy laws in place that ensure that no user data can ever be shared with foreign intelligence agencies.

So, who’s the winner in the NordVPN vs PIA logs category – both of them!

Compatibility 

NordVPN and PIA are, without a doubt, some of the best VPN service providers. Both VPNs offer extensive support for popular devices and platforms.

Device/PlatformNordVPNPIA 
Android
iOS
macOS
Windows
Chrome
Firefox
OperaX
Android TV
Routers

As you can see, both VPNs have support for popular browsers, platforms, and devices. It’s important to mention, that they are also in the list of the best VPN providers for Android.

They can even be installed on a router and provide umbrella protection to your home or business internet connection. PIA is a winner in this category as it offers one more browser extension than NordVPN.

NordVPN vs PIA for Torrent 

Since many users enjoy torrenting every once in a while, I decided to compare NordVPN and PIA’s ability to unblock torrenting sites and provide additional security while downloading torrents.

NordVPN

So, is NordVPN good for torrenting?

NordVPN and PIA have an extensive list of P2P-enabled servers for seamless torrenting sites unblocking and safe torrent downloads.

PIA

PIA even features post-forwarding technology to deliver ultra-fast torrent downloading speeds. But, I find it important to point out that PIA is under US jurisdiction.

PIA has to comply with DMCA notices and disclose user information if the authorities come with a warrant. Meanwhile, NordVPN is a Panama-based company and is not under any obligation whatsoever to comply with such notices.

Since both providers support peer-to-peer, they are both suitable for torrent downloads. So, to decide which one is better, we should look at the download speeds of both VPN providers. We have already concluded that NordVPN has better download speeds, so it’s going to be faster and more stable for torrent downloads.

However, Private Internet Access has a handy port forwarding feature that was designed to improve the user’s torrenting experience.

Here’s how you can enable this feature:

  1. Disconnect from your VPN client.
  2. Right-click the Private Internet Access tray icon.
  3. Open Settings.
  4. Open the Network tab.
  5. Check the Request Port Forwarding box.

Netflix 

My comparison would not be complete without answering, “Does NordVPN work with Netflix?”. I’ve found that NordVPN has no problem bypassing Netflix geo-restrictions. I’ve managed to unblock Netflix with NordVPN on every server that I tried.

NordVPN

PIA is not as efficient as NordVPN when it comes to unblocking Netflix in terms of consistency. During testing, I wasn’t able to unblock Netflix on all PIA servers. Some worked, while others didn’t.

When it comes to streaming services, Netflix in particular, the winner in this category is clear for one reason. Namely, Private Internet Access proxies were blocked on many streaming platforms.

First, we’ve conducted a PIA VPN vs NordVPN test on Netflix. NordVPN was able to successfully connect each time, without any errors. We’ve tested over 20 different NordVPN servers and they all worked flawlessly with Netflix.

PIA

Private Internet Access, on the other hand, failed to connect at all. The proxy error message was continuously displayed, not allowing us to use this service to stream videos on Netflix. The same goes for other platforms, such as Amazon Prime, as well as Hulu. NordVPN managed to establish a seamless connection, while Private Internet Access failed to connect in all cases.

To conclude, NordVPN is better in the streaming category.

Gaming 

When it comes to gaming, there are two important factors to consider – DDoS protection and internet connection speed.

NordVPN

NordVPN offers impressive connection speeds and unlimited bandwidth, which ensures that there are no lags or loading delays when playing your favorite games. If you’d like to protect your consoles, you can install NordVPN on your router and ensure that all IoT devices are safe at all times.

NordVPN also offers stellar DDoS protection, which ensures that your servers can’t be flooded with spammers. If something goes wrong, you can receive an instant response from their 24/7 live chat support team.

PIA

When it comes to Private Internet Access, on the other hand, while it does offer slightly slower internet connection speeds compared to NordVPN, it is still more than enough to carry out almost any game.

However, Private Internet Access offers great gaming support and has its own XBoX Live and PSN account. You can reach them via the gamertag PIASupport.

Customer Support 

Both NordVPN and PIA provide great support to their users. They offer plenty of actionable and insightful tutorials on installing, setting up, and using their VPN services and apps.

Also, both feature extensive FAQs on their websites, and users can consult them at any time to resolve any possible issues. NordVPN is known for its delightful customer support across different channels.

While PIA offers email as a form of directly contacting their support agents, NordVPN has a live chat feature, which makes their customer support more accessible and responsive.

Pricing and Plans 

Both NordVPN and PIA have refund policies in place. NordVPN has a 30-day refund policy, while PIA only has a 7-day money-back guarantee.

NordVPN

1 month12 months36 months
$11.95 / mo$6.99 / mo$3.49 / mo

PIA VPN

MonthlyTwo YearsYearly
9,29 € /mo2,50 €/mo3,10 €/mo

Visit PIA VPN

The cost of PIA subscription plans is considerably lower than NordVPN.

The only time they come close is with NordVPN’s 3-year plan if you are willing to make a 3-year-long commitment.

Jurisdiction 

NordVPN is based in Panama, a country considered to be a safe haven in terms of user information safety.

PIA is based in the US, which raises certain concerns in regard to DMCA notices. The company has to comply with them because it falls under US jurisdiction.

So can PIA be trusted? Their 10-years long history without a single incident is there to assure customers that PIA is trustworthy and safe to use.

Final Verdict: Is NordVPN Better Than PIA? 

Let’s quickly review the pros and cons of both VPN service providers before I deliver the final verdict.

NordVPN:

Unblocks Netflix

Fast speed

Good customer support

Military-grade security

Somewhat more expensive than other options

Lack of some browser extensions

PIA:

Affordable prices

Good speed

Many configuration options

Unblocks Netflix

No live chat

7-day money-back guarantee

I have to admit that NordVPN definitely came out as a winner of the NordVPN vs. PIA match. The differences are subtle, so I recommend them both. They offer plenty of features, great security, and the ability to bypass geo-restrictions.

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