NordVPN vs Private Internet Access (PIA) 2023 – Are They Safe to Use?
|NordVPN||Private Internet Access|
|Download Speed:||148.71 Mbps||63.24 Mbps|
|Server number:||5,497 servers||13,224|
|Security:||256-bit AES||256-bit AES|
|Data logging:||Strict no-log policy||Strict no-log policy|
|Streaming services:||Works great with all streaming platforms||Users reported issues on Netflix|
|Price:||$83.88 / year||$39.95 / year|
|Refund policy:||7-day money-back guarantee||No 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.
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 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
✅ No-logging policy
✅ DNS/IP leak protection
✅ Onion Over VPN
✅ P2P support
✅ Dedicated IP address
✅ Easy to use
✅ VPN app
NordVPN also offers some other unique 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 the following:
✅ Secure VPN Account
✅ Encrypted Wi-Fi
✅ P2P Support
✅ 256-bit AES, PPTP, OpenVPN, and L2TP/IPsec
✅ Support for 10 devices
✅ Multiple VPN gateways
✅ Unlimited bandwidth
✅ No-logging policy
✅ Instant setup
✅ VPN app
It is important to note that while Private Internet Access has DNS leak protection, some flaws were found when using their proxy. Namely, an error occurred that affected Chrome users (VPN for Chrome).
Somehow, their DNS data was leaked. Private Internet Access has reported that the issue was fixed. Moreover, they recommend using the browser extension and desktop clients simultaneously to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
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 – an 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 supports 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 essential security feature to be on the lookout for. Luckily, both NordVPN and Private Internet Access offer a kill switch feature.
An essential criterion 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 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.
However, it is essential 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, 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!
NordVPN and PIA are, without a doubt, some of the best VPN service providers. Both VPNs offer extensive support for popular devices and platforms.
As you can see, both VPNs have support for popular browsers, platforms, and devices. It’s important to mention that they are also on the list of the best VPN providers for Android.
They can even be installed on a router, providing 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 occasionally, I decided to compare NordVPN and PIA’s ability to unblock torrenting sites and provide additional security while downloading torrents.
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 even features post-forwarding technology to deliver ultra-fast torrent downloading speeds. But, I find it essential 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 obliged 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 that it will be faster and more stable for torrent downloads.
However, Private Internet Access has a handy port forwarding feature designed to improve the user’s torrenting experience.
Here’s how you can enable this feature:
- Disconnect from your VPN client.
- Right-click the Private Internet Access tray icon.
- Open Settings.
- Open the Network tab.
- Check the Request Port Forwarding box.
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.
PIA is not as efficient as NordVPN regarding unblocking Netflix in terms of consistency. During testing, I couldn’t 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 conducted a PIA VPN vs. NordVPN test on Netflix. NordVPN was able to connect successfully each time without any errors. We’ve tested over 20 different NordVPN servers, and they all worked flawlessly with Netflix.
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 (Amazon Prime VPN), as well as Hulu (Hulu VPN). 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.
Regarding gaming, there are two critical factors to consider – DDoS protection and internet connection speed.
NordVPN offers impressive connection speeds and unlimited bandwidth, ensuring 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 always safe.
NordVPN also offers stellar DDoS protection, ensuring 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.
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 excellent gaming support and has an Xbox Live and PSN account. You can reach them via the Gamertag PIASupport.
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 anytime to resolve any possible issues. NordVPN is known for its delightful customer support across different channels.
While PIA offers email to contact their support agents directly, NordVPN has a live chat feature, making 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.
|1 month||12 months||36 months|
|$11.95 / mo||$6.99 / mo||$3.49 / mo|
|9,29 € /mo||2,50 €/mo||3,10 €/mo|
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.
NordVPN is based in Panama, a country considered a safe haven regarding user information safety.
PIA is based in the US, which raises specific concerns regarding DMCA notices. The company has to comply with them because it falls under US jurisdiction.
So can PIA be trusted? Their 10-year-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.
✓ Unblocks Netflix
✓ Fast speed
✓ Good customer support
✓ Military-grade security
⊗ Somewhat more expensive than other options
⊗ Lack of some browser extensions
✓ Affordable prices
✓ Good speed
✓ Many configuration options
✓ Unblocks Netflix
⊗ No live chat
⊗ 7-day money-back guarantee
I must 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, excellent security, and the ability to bypass geo-restrictions.
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