ExpressVPN is arguably the largest VPN brand. If you have even a basic familiarity with VPNs, you’ve probbaly heard about ExpressVPN.
PIA is another big name in the industry and has millions of loyal customers.
But if we had to choose one between the two, which one is better?
The short answer is that: ExpressVPN is better than PIA.
The comparative strengths and weaknesses of ExpressVPN vs PIA will be explored in detail in this article. You can consult this brief overview of the comparison between the two providers to see their key features at a glance. If you want to read about it in detail, check out our ExpressVPN review blog.
|Jurisdiction||British Virgins Islands||USA|
|Logging Policy||No logs||No logs|
|Speed||27.17 Mbps||21.4 Mbps|
|Server Network||3,000+ servers|
|Customer Support||Live chat||Email/form based|
You can also see this VPN comparison chart of 60+ providers.
Result: ExpressVPN is located in a much safer jurisdiction (BVI)
|British Virgin Islands|
(Five Eyes – Unsafe)
ExpressVPN was established in 2009. It is based in the British Virgin Islands, away from the watchful Five Eyes. The country has no data retention requirements on VPN providers or ISPs, which makes it ideal from the privacy point of view.
Private Internet Access (PIA) was founded in 2010, the company operates from the US, which places is directly under the spying glasses of Five Eyes. The threat of surveillance is ever-present in the US and that makes PIA’s jurisdiction a little bit of a red flag.
Logging Policy Review
Result: ExpressVPN has a more transparent logging policy as compared to PIA
|Does not store customer information||No traffic logs, but overall policy vague|
Logging policy is a critical factor that directly affects the desirability of a VPN from the point of view of a consumers.
ExpressVPN is a true no-logs VPN as the company has a strong policy against retaining any kind of customer information which could undermine their online privacy.
On the other hand, PIA only claims to keep no traffic logs and it is unclear if they monitor and store other types of customer information. As such, it is hard to understand their stance on privacy.
Therefore, ExpressVPN has more assuring and transparent logging policy than PIA, which makes it a stronger protector of your privacy.
Pricing, payment options, and refund
Result: PIA is cheaper than ExpressVPN
|1-month: $12.95/mo||1-month: $6.95/mo|
|6-months: $9.99/mo||6-month: $5.99/mo|
|1-year: $8.32/mo||1-year: $3.33/mo|
ExpressVPN is one of the most expensive VPNs in the market. Its 1 year subscription costs $8.32/month in contrast to the lower price of PIA VPN at $3.33/month.
|Credit card||Credit card|
Both providers also accept all major modes of payment.
Finally, ExpressVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee on all packages whereas PIA only gives a 7-day refund period.
As far as price is considered, therefore, PIA is a much cheaper than ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN vs PIA: Speed Review
To test how close to your base internet connection these VPNs deliver speed, Ookla was used for speed measurement on a 30 Mbps base connection.
|US: 26.62 Mbps||US: 19.16 Mbps|
|UK: 26.68 Mbps||UK: 25.78 Mbps|
|GER: 28.97 Mbps||GER: 22.25 Mbps|
|AUS: 26.43 Mbps||AUS: 18.4 Mbps|
|Avg Download: 27.17 Mbps||Avg. Download: 21.39 Mbps|
ExpressVPN has outperformed PIA in terms of speed. The average download speed that we received using ExpressVPN is 27.17 Mbps as compared to PIA’s 21.39 Mbps.
Server Network: ExpressVPN vs PIA
Result: Both providers boast highly impressive server networks
|3,000 servers in 94 countries||3,300+ servers in 32 countries|
ExpressVPN has an extensive network of 3,000 servers in 94 countries which is one of the best in the industry.. However, PIA goes even farther with 3,300+ servers. The difference is, ExpressVPN is spread over a much wider region, whereas PIA’s servers are only distributed in 32 countries.
As such, both providers bring true value to the table. If you only want servers in common locations in the Americas, Europe, and some of Asia and Africa, then Private Internet Access is more than adequate.
However, if you want a much larger range of server locations to establish connection with in order to keep your privacy hard to fool around with for any malicious user, then ExpressVPN has the better claim.
Therefore, there is no clear winner in this round. It comes down to your personal preference when choosing between these providers, if you’re going by server coverage of a VPN.
Performance and Reliability
Result: ExpressVPN has better reliabiltiy and performance when establishing connection with VPN servers
ExpressVPN has a light and highly responsive VPN client. It takes only a few seconds to connect to any VPN server of your choice through the app. Disconnections rarely ever happen if at all. As such, it is arguably the best providers as far as reliability of VPN connections is considered.
Private Internet Access also has a highly reliable VPN client that works efficiently in most situations. However, we have experienced issues making connections with servers at times, probably due to server overcrowding during peak times.
Other than that, it works smoothly and does not prove too much of an annoyance.
Result: Both VPNs are compatible with common devices but ExpressVPN goes the extra mile with additional devices
ExpressVPN and PIA are both compatible with most common devices and even some not-so-common ones:
|Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS||Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS|
|Chrome, Firefox, Safari||Chrome, Firefox, Opera|
|Streaming and media consoles||No app for streaming and media consoles|
Customer Service Review: PIA vs ExpressVPN
Result: ExpressVPN offers live chat 24/7 whereas PIA uses email for customer service
ExpressVPN offers quality live chat support which is available 24/7. In addition, the provider has setup tutorials and other technical guides on the official website to help answer your queries and resolve complaints.
PIA, unfortunately, still lacks live chat support. That is massively disappointing considering how big a brand Private Internet Access is and the fact that live chat has pretty much become a norm in the VPN industry.
They do offer helpful instructional material and support through emails, but that’s no match for the convenience and utility of a live chat.
Torrent and P2P Support
Result: ExpressVPN is the better in terms of torrenting support, courtesy of its jurisdictional advantage.
In many instances, Private Internet Access vs ExpressVPN are evenly matched. Torrenting is one of those areas which should ideally be performed with a high degree of privacy. Both services offer support for torrent clients and websites.
However, PIA discourages its users from using it to download torrents from the internet, as it is a DMCA compliant service.
Therefore, if you want to be careful, you’d do a lot better trusting ExpressVPN which is easily one of the best for the job, as the VPN is located in a country beyond the jurisdiction of DMCA.
Result: ExpressVPN offers excellent efficiency for Netflix unblocking
ExpressVPN is one of the few remaining VPNs hat are still able to access Netflix. The streaming service imposed a ban on VPN services in January 2016, after which many services lost their ability to sidestep Netflix’s detection radars.
PIA is one such VPN and it doesn’t consistently work with Netflix anymore. On the other hand, ExpressVPN still stays strong and you can access US Netflix to watch exclusive shows/movies available in only that region with a single click.
Result: Both VPNs offer valuable extra features
|No ad block||Ad-block (MACE)|
|5 simultaneous connections||10 simultaneous connections|
One of the main factors needed to decide a winner between Private Internet Access vs ExpressVPN is the unique features that each has to offer. ExpressVPN offers a few valuable features for improving your online privacy and access to restricted websites.
PIA, for its part, also offers some interesting features such as the ability to connect 10 devices with the same VPN account and SOCKS5 proxy, which are some of the best aspects of the provider.
These value-added features prove that both VPNs are top-notch privacy-enhancing tools given how vulnerable our information is on the web.
Reviews from users abound on the Internet about both of these providers. If you search ExpressVPN vs PIA on reddit, for instance, you will find a lot of reviews from actual customers of these VPNs. Here are some of the reviews gathered from TrustPilot below.
The majority of the users are extremely satisfied with ExpressVPN, which is why it has received 85% excellent rating. It is no wonder why it is considered one of the best in the industry.
Private Internet Access has also received great feedback by users. However, it falls slightly short of the praise that is showered upon ExpressVPN.
Final Verdict: ExpressVPN vs PIA
ExpressVPN is the winner against PIA courtesy of better speed, server distribution, logging policy, and customer support, in this comparison. To read more about it, check out our detailed ExpressVPN review.
However, PIA is itself a very competent VPN service and offers excellent all-around services for users with impressive features like 10 simultaneous connections. In fact, if you’re tight on budget, it might even be a better idea to go with PIA rather than the expensive ExpressVPN because of the massive price difference.
Just know that we’re talking about two well-recognized brands and you can’ go wrong with either one of them.