Which is better NordVPN or Private Internet Access? [Test Results 2020]
Recent years have shown us just how important it is to invest in online safety and take precautions every time you browse the web, download files, or engage in other online activities. There are more viruses, hackers, and digital threats than ever before, and everyone can be at risk of being hacked or tracked by malicious individuals, cyber-criminals, or even their own ISP.
This is where VPNs come into play, helping you hide your identity online, encrypting your connections across all devices, and protecting your from so many of those different digital threats. With a VPN in place, you can browse, stream, download, game, and more without any limitations, safe in the knowledge that your identity is hidden and your devices are protected.
But which VPN should you choose? NordVPN and Private Internet Access are two of the most downloaded and talked-about VPNs on the market right now, and both of them tend to rank highly in both expert and user reviews, but which one is truly the best? Well, our in-depth comparison of NordVPN and Private Internet Access will help you answer that question.
In this NordVPN vs Private Internet Access comparison report, we will cover the following areas:
• Top selling points
• Speed tests
• Security and Encryption
• Simultaneous Connections
• Customer Support
Now let’s dive into the details of our comparison report.
NordVPN vs Private Internet Access- Full VPN comparison
Top Selling Points – Let’s get to know them
For our side by side comparison of NordVPN and Private Internet Access, we’ll look at a range of features and factors, including speeds, security, privacy, streaming performance, and more, but before we get into the nitty-gritty details of each provider, let’s first take a general look at what each one offers and the key selling points that set them apart.
NordVPN is one of the most secure VPNs on the market right now. Experts tend to agree that NordVPN really takes security seriously, offering a huge range of security features, privacy protocols, and advanced options like Tor over VPN servers, double VPN encryption, and more. In short, if you wan to feel totally safe and protected online, this is definitely one of the top options.
Private Internet Access, meanwhile, as the name implies, is strongly focused on privacy. It actually has a lot in common with NordVPN in that it puts a lot of emphasis on security and privacy-oriented features, boasting a global network of more than 18,000 servers in 90+ unique locations worldwide, working seamlessly across all major platforms and browsers too.
One of the first things to think about when choosing the best VPN to meet your needs is what kind of speeds it’s able to offer. Some of the best VPNs can offer incredible upload and download speeds, with some even being able to improve your speeds once you connect, while others can be a little disappointing in this aspect.
We put NordVPN and Private Internet Access to the test and measured their speeds. Let’s begin with NordVPN, which has a smaller network than PIA, with about 5,500 servers worldwide. You might assume that NordVPN isn’t able to provide the fastest speeds due to its smaller network, but it actually performs really well in this test. No matter where we connected, we saw amazing speeds using NordVPN, with speedy ping times and only minimal drops in upload speeds.
For Private Internet Access, we tested similar server locations around the world and also got some very impressive results. The speeds with PIA in key locations like New York, Los Angeles, and London were all very good and almost on par with the speeds recorded on NordVPN too. However, most of our results with PIA were just a little slower than NordVPN, so the latter provider wins this round.
Another key aspect to take into account when choosing a VPN is the price tag. A lot of people already pay many monthly subscriptions for things like gym memberships and streaming services, so they don’t want to pay too much extra each month for the benefits and functions of a VPN. How do NordVPN and Private Internet Access compare in this regard?
Well, both of these providers follow the industry standard of offering three different plans in total for new users to choose between. With NordVPN, you can select from a monthly plan, yearly plan, or two-year plan. Private Internet Access, meanwhile, offers a monthly plan, a yearly plan, and a three year plan.
The monthly costs for both providers are identical. However, the prices for the longer plans differ slightly. Private Internet Access actually offers slightly cheaper costs per month on its yearly and three-year plan when compared to the long-term plans for NordVPN.
You can pay anonymously with gift cards for Private Internet Access and benefit from a 7-day money-back guarantee. On NordVPN, you can also pay anonymously with different payment methods and enjoy the advantages of a 30-day refund period. Overall, PIA is the best choice here due to its cheaper prices, but NordVPN isn’t far behind.
Most VPNs carry out the same basic functions: they encrypt your online connections and mask the IP addresses of your connected devices, allowing you to browse the net, visit sites, log in to your accounts, access streaming services, and so on without the risks and worries of site owners, hackers, and agencies being able to track you. Some of them, however, offer additional features.
NordVPN really goes above and beyond the call of duty in this department. It’s got a huge number of additional features. When you sign up for an account, for example, you can also choose to benefit from Nord’s password manager and secure cloud storage services. On the VPN too, you’ll have kill switch, tor functionality, dual VPN features, obfuscated servers, and much more.
Private Internet Access isn’t quite able to keep up with NordVPN’s vast array of services, but it still provides a solid range of features. It works great across many different platforms like Windows, Android, Mac, Linux, and iOS, for example, and can be installed on different devices like routers, and it comes with a kill switch feature and ad-blocking.
Overall, when we look at the feature lists for NordVPN and Private Internet Access, it’s clear to see that NordVPN wins this particular category. Not all of its features and services will be useful to every user, but advanced users and those who really want the maximum levels of protection and functionality out of their VPN will greatly appreciate those extra options and features.
One of the many reasons why people choose to get a VPN in the first place isn’t just for security and privacy purposes, but to unblock streaming sites from around the world like Hulu, HBO Go, BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and more. A VPN lets you by-pass the geo-blocks and restrictions that can sometimes prevent users from accessing certain platforms.
When it comes to streaming, NordVPN is one of the very best VPNs you can find these days. At a time when many streaming companies are cracking down on VPN usage, NordVPN still delivers amazing results. It worked flawlessly in our tests for accessing multiple Netflix libraries from around the world, as well as Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer too.
Unfortunately, Private Internet Access is a little more in the ‘hit or miss’ category when it comes to streaming. It is possible to access Netflix and certain other streaming services when using this VPN, but it’s less reliable overall and you may have to fiddle around with a few different servers before finally finding one that works.
Overall, if you’re looking for the best VPN for streaming out of NordVPN and Private Internet Access, we have to recommend NordVPN. It’s just far more reliable and efficient in this particular area.
Security and Encryption
As well as streaming, one of the most common reasons why people choose to get a VPN is to enjoy the unique security features and connection encryption it has to offer; with a VPN set up on your devices like computers, phones, and tablets, you’ll be able to browse the net, even in public places, without worries of other users being able to track you.
How does NordVPN fare in this domain? Well, as we stated earlier on, it’s actually one of the very best VPNs in the business when it comes to security. It makes use of an AES-256 cipher with SHA256 authorization. In simple terms, this means that NordVPN uses some of the latest and greatest security tech available. It also offers two types of kill switch, exceptional server security, third-party audits, and a no logs policy to protect its users.
As for Private Internet Access, it also uses state of the art 256-bit encryption, which is the best level of security available right now, making it almost impossible for anyone to break into your devices and see what you’re doing. It also uses a range of leading protocols, a kill switch feature, leak protection, and a no logs policy. However, it doesn’t run third-party audits on its security.
Overall, when it comes to comparing Private Internet Access and NordVPN in terms of security, the two providers have a lot in common. Both of them offer similar standards of security, but NordVPN just about has the edge once again in this category, thanks to the fact that it offers a few more security options and allows for third-party audits.
Want to learn more about security? read our ultimate guide for VPN security
As well as security, many people want to find a VPN that can provide them with total privacy while browsing the net and engaging in online activities. This is one of the major selling points of a VPN in general, as they’re able to hide your IP address, making it impossible for sites, ISPs, and anyone else to see what you’re doing on the internet.
Both Private Internet Access and NordVPN offer similar privacy protocols and settings, but they do differ in some big ways. NordVPN is based in Panama, for example, while Private Internet Access is headquartered in the US. This is a very important distinction, because some countries are far more protective of citizen data than others.
Panama is widely-regarded as one of the best jurisdictions for VPNs because it has no data retention policies and isn’t part of any of the big global surveillance alliances like Five Eyes or Nine Eyes. Thanks to this, NordVPN users will be safe at all times, and even government secret services aren’t able to make NordVPN hand over any kind of data on its users.
The US, on the other hand, is not classed as one of the top jurisdictions for VPN usage, because the US is part of many global security and surveillance alliances like Five Eyes. This means that US secret agencies could demand that PIA hand over user data and this data could be shared with other governments and authorities around the world. Because of this, NordVPN is the best option for privacy.
You aren’t just limited to one device at a time when using a good quality VPN. Many of the top VPNs on the market will let you connect to their servers and enjoy privacy and protection across multiple devices simultaneously. This can be a big advantage, especially for families or groups of workers, but some companies are more generous than others
When you use NordVPN, you can connect with up to six devices at once. This is much better than many rival brands, as a lot of other companies only offer three or four simultaneous connections for their users. Therefore, NordVPN can offer a lot of appeal to families and people who want to share the benefits of their VPN subscription with their loved ones.
Private Internet Access, however, goes even further. In the past, it only offered five simultaneous connections. Recently, however, it upgraded its offerings to cover 10 simultaneous connections in total! This is one of the best aspects of PIA and one of the reasons why more and more people are choosing it as their VPN provider in recent times.
If ever you happen to need any help with your VPN, whether it’s for setting it up on a new device, adjusting your account information, or figuring out how to use some of the more advanced features, you’ll usually want to turn to the official provider’s customer support department with your questions and queries.
NordVPN delivers a solid service in this department. Over on the official NordVPN site, you’ll find a live chatbot system that can help you out with a range of common questions and issues, or you can send the company an email. It also has a reasonable amount of guides, tutorials, and step by step instructions on its site to help you get up and running.
Private Internet Access is pretty similar in the customer support aspect. It has a live chat system, as well as an email address you can contact, plus a FAQ and Help Center section. Responses can sometimes be a little slow via the email, but the system works well enough in most situations, and both of these providers offer decent customer support services, with room for improvement.
NordVPN vs PIAVPN – Which One’s Better?
So which VPN is the best? Well, when looking at these two VPNs from a range of different angles, one thing is clear: they’re both winners. Both NordVPN and Private Internet Access stand out as some of the most affordable, efficient, and reliable VPNs you can find.
They both deliver in the key areas that matter most like security, privacy, and speed, and both have far more pros than cons. However, if we had to pick one winner, it simply has to be NordVPN.
NordVPN offers faster speeds, stronger security, and better privacy too, albeit at a slightly higher monthly cost than PIA. PIA is still fully recommendable and has some great unique selling points, but is just a little lacking in a few areas like streaming and privacy.