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ExpressVPN vs PIA

Winner: ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN vs PIA – Without a doubt, both VPNs are hugely popular with tens of thousands of users worldwide. So, which one has the upper hand either it’s ExpressVPN or PIA VPN?

To find which one offers more features and better value for money, I’ve put ExpressVPN and PIA head to head in our detailed VPN comparison for 2020. To help you figure out which VPN is right for you, I’ve compiled a bunch of useful tables with relevant information.

ExpressVPN vs PIA: Head to Head Comparison

ExpressVPN is the winner!

As I mentioned earlier, out of the two, ExpressVPN won in my side by side VPN comparison. Here are the following factors that helped me made a definitive decision:

  • Jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands (Data retention free jurisdiction)
  • Speed: 27.17 Mbps
  • Servers: 3000+ in 94 countries
  • Price: $6.67/mo
  • Streaming: Supports Netflix
  • Support: Live Chat 24/7

A Quick Comparison of ExpressVPN and PIA

If you’re not interested in reading the detailed comparison, then you can check out the quick comparison between ExpressVPN and PIA in the table below. Also, you can read details about other providers in our comprehensive VPN comparison chart.

FactorsExpressVPNPIA
JurisdictionBritish Virgins IslandsUSA
Logging PolicyNo logsNo logs
Pricing $6.67/mo $2.85/mo
Speed27.17 Mbps21.4 Mbps
Server Network3,000+ servers
94 countries
3300+ servers
48 countries
Customer SupportLive chatEmail/form based
query submissions
TorrentingSupportedSupported
Netflix UnblockingSupportedInconsistent
SecurityStrongStrong
Websiteexpressvpn.comprivateinternetaccess.com

Detailed Comparison

Right of the bat, both VPNs are quite well established. While ExpressVPN initially debuted in 2009, PIA VPN on the other hand made its way to the mainstream VPN market in 2010. So, they’re both top players in the VPN industry. However, ExpressVPN is ever so slightly better than PIA VPN in almost all aspects.

For instance, it is significantly faster than the PIA VPN in terms of speed. It also works way better when it comes to streaming Netflix. ExpressVPN is also headquartered in a safe jurisdiction and offers 24/7 live chat support.

PIA is also a decent VPN service and it is quite cheaper compared to ExpressVPN. But it lacks crucial features like a safe jurisdiction and even live-chat support. Now, on with the detailed comparison.

1. Pricing plans

Result: PIA VPN is cheaper than ExpressVPN.

PlansExpressVPNPIA VPN
1-month$12.95/mo$9.95/mo
6-month$9.99/mo$5.99/mo
1-year + 3-month $6.67/mo $2.85/mo

PIA It is relatively cheaper than ExpressVPN. For instance, its monthly pricing plan is available at the cost of only $9.95/mo, six months plan for $5.99/mo, and a yearly pricing plan for as low as $2.85/mo. PIA VPN supports 10 multi logins which is twice as much as ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN – It is one of the most expensive VPNs in the market. Its 1-year subscription costs $6.67/mo in contrast to the lower price of PIA VPN. Similarly, its 6-months and monthly plan are available at $9.99 and $12.95 month both of which are more expensive than PIA VPN. In comparison, ExpressVPN also only offers 5 simultaneous connections.

Payment Methods and Refund Policy

Both VPNs come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. However, one thing ExpressVPN offers better than PIA VPN is payment options. ExpressVPN not only accepts credit cards and PayPal, but it also accepts crypto and tons of other payment options.

PIA VPN on the other hand only accepts a few payment options. For instance, PIA VPN doesn’t accept bitcoin payments. You can only purchase it through either credit card, PayPal, or Amazon pay.

2. Jurisdiction

Result: ExpressVPN is located in a much safer jurisdiction (BVI).

JurisdictionExpressVPNPIA
British Virgin Islands (safe)United States (Unsafe)

ExpressVPN – It is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands. The country has no mandatory data retention laws and is also out of the reach of the infamous 5/9/14 eyes alliance.

PIA VPN – It is headquartered in the USA and still the company claims to keep no logs, there’s no denying that it would have to comply with law enforcement as per U.S laws and regulations. Overall, ExpressVPN is a much safer choice.

3. Logging Policy

Result: ExpressVPN has a much clearer logging policy than PIA. 

Logs typeExpressVPNPIA
Activity LogsNoNo
Connection LogsNoSome

ExpressVPN – It is a true no-logs VPN service that genuinely retains no customer logs of any kind which could compromise anyone’s online privacy. If you want to know how committed they are to protecting user privacy, I would urge you to read this blog.

PIA – It 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.

4. Speed Results

Result: ExpressVPN is a lot faster than the PIA VPN.

Speed in CountriesExpressVPNPIA
US26.62 Mbps19.16 Mbps
UK26.68 Mbps25.78 Mbps
Germany28.97 Mbps22.25 Mbps
Australia26.43 Mbps18.4 Mbps
Avg. Download27.17 Mbps21.4 Mbps

ExpressVPN – It has proved to be a lot faster than the PIA VPN. The BVI based VPN provider did not disappoint and managed to achieve an exceptional average speed of 27.17 Mbps on the US, UK, Germany, and Australian servers.

PIA VPN on the other wasn’t actually slow, however, it was slow in comparison to ExpressVPN. At max, PIA managed to achieve an average downloading speed of 21.4 Mbps on my 30 Mbps test connection. ExpressVPN wins this round as well.

5. Servers in Countries

Result: PIA VPN offers more servers than ExpressVPN, however, ExpressVPN offers more server locations than PIA VPN.

ExpressVPNPIA
Countries9448
Servers3000+3300+

ExpressVPN – It offers 3000+ servers whereas Private Internet Access offers 3300+ servers. But ExpressVPN is not too far behind PIA VPN. Even though ExpressVPN offers slightly less number of servers, it does offer way more locations. You see, unlike PIA VPN, ExpressVPN offers servers in 94 countries.

PIA VPN – It offers servers in 48 countries. So, if you 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 broader server network, then ExpressVPN should be your first choice.

Overall, there is no clear winner in this round. It comes down to your personal preference when choosing between these providers.

6. Compatibility

Result: ExpressVPN is compatible with slightly more devices than PIA VPN.

CompatibilityExpressVPNPIA
AndroidYesYes
iOSYesYes
WindowsYesYes
macOSYesYes
LinuxYesYes
ChromeYesYes
FirefoxYesYes
Gaming ConsolesYesNo

Both VPNs are compatible with common devices but ExpressVPN goes the extra mile with support for additional devices. While PIA VPN only supports run of the mill devices like Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, Linux, and few browsers, ExpressVPN on the other hand even supports smart home devices and gaming consoles. Overall, ExpressVPN is a lot more versatile than the PIA VPN in terms of compatibility.

7. Customer Support

Result: ExpressVPN offers 24/7 live chat support which PIA VPN doesn’t.

SupportExpressVPNPIA
Live ChatYesNo
Email SupportYesYes
Tutorials/Setup GuidesYesYes

ExpressVPN – It provides excellent customer support through 24/7 live chat, setup guides/tutorials, and email. On the other hand, PIA also offers pretty decent support, however, it lacks the live chat feature.

That is massively disappointing considering how renowned 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. Overall, ExpressVPN wins this round.

8. Torrenting

Result: Since ExpressVPN is headquartered in the BVI and offers a better logging policy, ExpressVPN is a better choice for torrenting than PIA VPN.

Torrenting FeaturesExpressVPNPIA
No LogsYesSome
Fast SpeedsYesYes
Unlimited BandwidthYesYes
ObfuscationNoNo
Safe JurisdictionYesNo
Leak-ProofYesYes

ExpressVPN It is better than PIA in terms of torrenting support, courtesy of its jurisdictional advantage. Both services offer support for torrent clients and websites, however, PIA discourages users from downloading pirated torrent files because it has to comply with DMCA laws. A major disadvantage of being headquartered in the USA.

ExpressVPN on the other hand is much more anonymous than PIA VPN. The fact that ExpressVPN keeps no logs at all and is located in the BVI means you can download any kind of torrents you can imagine without ever worrying about anything.

9. Unblocking Strength

Result: Both VPNs can unblock a bunch of streaming services, however, ExpressVPN is much better in performance.

Streaming servicesExpressVPNPIA
NetflixUS, UK, Canada, Germany, France, JapanNo
HuluUS, JapanUS, Japan
BBC iPlayerYesYes
Amazon Prime VideoYesNo
Sky GoYesYes
CBSYesYes

ExpressVPN performs exceptionally well when it comes to unblocking streaming services. In fact, in my testing, ExpressVPN managed to unblock BBC iPlayerHuluAmazon PrimeDisney Plus among others.

However, this was not the case with PIA as it is one such VPN that doesn’t work consistently with Netflix anymore. In addition, PIA also doesn’t work at all with Disney Plus. But on the bright side, PIA does work with Hulu, Sky Go, and CBS. Overall, ExpressVPN is better when it comes to streaming services.

10. Security Features

Result: When it comes to security features, both providers come to a draw.

SecurityExpressVPNPIA
EncryptionAES-256AES-256
Protocols SupportedPPTP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP and OpenVPN UDP / TCPPPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN, and SOCKS5 Proxy Tunnel
RSA KeysRSA-4096RSA-2048
App SecurityKillswitchKillswitch

Both ExpressVPN and PIA VPN offer strong security which includes powerful encryption and industry-standard tunneling protocols. Both of these providers also offer the same kind of tunneling protocols. While ExpressVPN utilizes the RSA-4096 key, PIA uses the RSA-2048 key.

Both providers offer various tunneling protocols such as PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, and industry-standard OpenVPN that uses 256-bit military-grade encryption by default. If we talk about more similarities, both providers offer built-in kill switch as well. Overall, its a draw in this category.

Final Verdict: ExpressVPN is the Winner

ExpressVPN is the winner in our comparison courtesy of better speed, server distribution, logging policy, and customer support. To read more about it ExpressVPN, check out our detailed ExpressVPN review. Just to clarify, PIA is itself a very competent VPN service that has more than 1 million paid subscribers.

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.

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