Overall winner: NordVPN
Both VPNs offer almost similar features.
PIA has a large server network with over 35500 servers, while NordVPN offers 5200+ servers only. PIA is cheaper and offers features like split tunneling and port forwarding. However, NordVPN can unblock more streaming services and is also 3.53 Mbps faster as compared to PIA VPN.
Overall, when comparing NordVPN and PIA to see which one offers better privacy, security, and online accessibility, we found NordVPN to be the Winner.
In this head-to-head comparison, you’ll be able to find comparative tables to help you decide on choosing NordVPN or PIA?
NordVPN vs PIA: Head to Head Comparison
NordVPN unquestionably wins this comparison because it has a massive server network and top-notch features. Here’s a rundown of some of the most prominent features of NordVPN that gives it an edge over PIA:
NordVPN is the winner!
- Logging: NordVPN does not keep any logs
- Speed: 24.91 Mbps
- Jurisdiction: Panama (safe for a VPN service)
- Support: Live Chat, Faqs, guides, email
- Streaming: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc
A Quick Comparison of NordVPN and PIA
If you don’t want to read in detail then you can check the list of factors we have used to compare NordVPN and PIA in the below table. Also, you can explore our detailed VPN comparison chart.
|Logging Policy||No logs||No logs|
|Best value for your money||$3.29/mo (Save 72% on 2-year-plan Holiday Season Offer)||$2.08/mo|
|Speed||24.91 Mbps||21.4 Mbps|
|Server Network||5500+ servers 59 countries||24305+ servers 77 countries|
|Customer Support||Live chat, Email, Faq, Guides||Live chat, Email, Faq, Guides|
|Review||NordVPN review||PIA review|
Overview of NordVPN and PIA
NordVPN and PIA are undoubtedly two big names in the industry. Both VPNs have been in the market for decades now. On the surface, both VPNs tend to offer similar features. For instance, both VPNs offer a Kill switch, DNS leak protection, malware protection, and no logs policy.
However, NordVPN has an edge over PIA VPN because of its safe Panama jurisdiction. In addition, its extra value-added features such as double encryption and TOR over VPN allows NordVPN to even work in heavingly censored countries (China) where PIA doesn’t.
1. Pricing Plans
Result: PIA is slightly cheaper than NordVPN by costing $1.02 less.
NordVPN – It offers three subscription plans which include a 2-year plan, a 1-year plan, and a 1-month plan. Its most affordable plan costs $3.29/mo (Save 72% on 2-year-plan Holiday Season Offer), however, PIA VPN’s plans are still cheaper than NordVPN.
PIA – The subscription plans of PIA include monthly, yearly, and 2-year plan. Although the pricing for each plan is listed in the table above, it’s worth noting that PIA VPN is quite cheaper than NordVPN. PIA clearly wins this round.
View our detailed VPN comparison chart for 2021 to check out other budget-friendly VPNs.
Payment methods and Refund policy
Result: Although both providers offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, PIA offers more payment methods than NordVPN.
|Payment method & Refund||NordVPN||PIA VPN|
|30-day Money-back guarantee||Yes||Yes|
NordVPN – It can be purchased through either credit cards or cryptocurrencies. That’s about it. Similar to PIA VPN, NordVPN subscription packages are refundable within 30-day.
PIA VPN – It offers a 30-day refund policy but also accepts way more payment options than NordVPN. Instead of just accepting credit cards and crypto, PIA VPN also accepts payments made through PayPal, Amazon Pay, and Mint.
It is very important that the provider you decide to go with has a clear refund policy. There are providers such as TunnelBear, that offer refunds on a case-by-case basis and you wouldn’t want to be stuck with them regarding your funds. It is possible that your refund request may get disapproved by TunnelBear if you decide to not continue with the subscription. Therefore, always make sure to check the refund policy yourself before committing to any VPN provider.
Although the TunnelBear refund policy may seem dodgy, it is still one of the best VPN providers in the industry and can go toe-to-toe with top-tier VPN providers. Recently, we compared it with NordVPN, see how it performs in NordVPN and TunnelBear comparison.
2. Jurisdiction: NordVPN vs PIA
Result: NordVPN is headquartered in the safe jurisdiction of Panama, whereas PIA is not (USA).
NordVPN – It is headquartered in the safe jurisdiction of Panama. This country is considered a heaven for online privacy. With no mandatory data retention laws in place, ISPs in Panama are not obligated to keep logs.
PIA – It is located in the unsafe jurisdiction of the United States. This is one of the major downsides of Private Internet Access. Being headquartered in the US, law enforcement agencies can legally ask PIA VPN to hand over user data.
Jurisdiction is very important when you are deciding on a VPN for yourself. You don’t want to rely on a VPN provider like Private Internet Access, which is operating from the US, and risk your online privacy and data. Speaking of PIA, even though it is a competitive VPN provider on many levels with ExpressVPN, due to its jurisdiction, it is not a favorite. Check out how it performs against top-tier VPN in ExpressVPN vs PIA
3. Logging Policy
Result: NordVPN has a clearer and proven no-logging policy, whereas PIA’s logging policy is quite vague.
|No logs retained||No traffic logs, but the overall policy is vague|
NordVPN – It comes with a great logging policy that guarantees no storage of user data at all. With no timestamps, IP addresses, and bandwidth logs, there is no way that any authority can compromise your privacy. Best of all, it is headquartered in the data retention-free jurisdiction of Panama.
4. Speed: NordVPN vs Private Internet Access
Result: NordVPN is faster by 3.53 Mbps on average than PIA VPN.
Speed is another key performance factor to determine the better service between these two. Because let’s face it, if a VPN is not fast, you can’t download torrents with it or browse your favorite shows on Netflix.
|Speed in Countries||NordVPN||PIA VPN|
|US||25.46 Mbps||19.16 Mbps|
|UK||25.09 Mbps||25.78 Mbps|
|Germany||24.29 Mbps||22.25 Mbps|
|Australia||24.81 Mbps||18.4 Mbps|
|Avg. Download||24.91 Mbps||21.39 Mbps|
NordVPN – Testing the service on a 30 Mbps connection, NordVPN didn’t disappoint delivering remarkably good speeds at 24.91 Mbps on average. Check out NordVPN speed test results for more clarity.
PIA – It couldn’t deliver the same level of speed as NordVPN, however, it still managed to achieve an average speed of 21.39 Mbps which is not too far behind NordVPN. Therefore, NordVPN once again is the winner.
5. Server Network: PIA vs. NordVPN
Result: PIA has roughly 18,150 more servers than NordVPN.
|5500+ servers in 59 countries|
24305+ servers in 77 countries
NordVPN – It offers significantly fewer servers as compared to PIA. The server network of this provider encompasses more than 5500+ servers with a presence in 59 countries. But the good thing about NordVPN is that all of its servers are physical and not virtual.
PIA VPN – It offers a decent server network consisting of 24,305+ VPN servers in 77 countries. PIA VPN also uses entirely bare-metal (physical) servers.
6. Compatibility: NordVPN vs Private Internet Access
On the compatibility front, both NordVPN and PIA support similar platforms/devices. As such, both of these providers are evenly contested when it comes to compatibility.
NordVPN – It supports a wide range of devices, including Android TV, Firefox, Chrome, Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and more. NordVPN is also compatible with routers, which in turn makes it compatible with devices that don’t support VPNs natively.
PIA VPN – It is compatible with desktops and smartphones, including PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. However, unlike NordVPN, PIA VPN also supports the Opera browser which is a big plus. But all in all, both providers more or less support the same kind of devices.
7. Customer Support: PIA vs NordVPN
Result: NordVPN offers live chat support with a response time of 30 seconds
|Live chat||Yes||Yes (requires a lot of steps)|
NordVPN – In this comparison, we found that NordVPN is obviously better than PIA in terms of customer support. We were pleasantly surprised to see that it only took 30 seconds for NordVPN to entertain our query.
PIA – The customer support is notably inferior compared to NordVPN. When it comes to providing easy live chat functionality, PIA VPN is not all that good. The reason is that you’ll need to fill in a short form just to get in contact with their live chat representative. NordVPN wins this round for its excellent and responsive live chat support.
8. Torrenting: Private Internet Access vs NordVPN
Result: NordVPN offers better torrenting than PIA, thanks to its obfuscation technology and thousands of servers.
|Torrenting Features||NordVPN||PIA VPN|
NordVPN – It offers a wide range of P2P-enabled servers that can help you access and download any torrent file you can imagine. In addition, thanks to its obfuscation technology, NordVPN can stay under the radar of your ISP. The system-wide kill switch feature of NordVPN ensures that your IP doesn’t leak while you are torrenting. It also offers high download speeds for torrenting as can be seen in the comparison between NordVPN and PureVPN.
PIA VPN – It supports P2P networking and torrenting on its servers. In fact, it has a port-forwarding feature specially designed to optimize your torrenting speed. However, the fact that PIA is located in the US means that the company will have to comply with any DMCA notices it receives.
NordVPN is headquartered in Panama, it is significantly safer than PIA.
9. Unblocking Strength: PIA VPN vs NordVPN
Result: NordVPN can unblock more streaming services than PIA VPN.
Unblock streaming channels is one of the major reasons for using VPNs. To can find out which VPN can unblock more streaming services with the help of this table.
|Streaming Channels||NordVPN||PIA VPN|
|Amazon Prime Video||Yes||Yes|
NordVPN – It can effortlessly unblock Netflix along with a bunch of other streaming services as mentioned in the table above. As for performance, in our testing, NordVPN managed to deliver HD streaming quality.
PIA – It didn’t perform too well in the streaming category. It didn’t manage to unblock Disney Plus, Sling TV, and Fubo TV. It did manage to unblock US Netflix, however, not consistently. This can also be seen in the IPVanish vs PIA and PIA VPN vs PureVPN comparison where PIA only managed to unblock Netflix US and it also took us quite some time to find the US server that actually works with Netflix.
10. Security and Features
Result: NordVPN offers more security features, however, PIA is not too far behind.
Although both VPNs offer similar features and have strong security you can find out which one offers more value for money.
|Security Features||NordVPN||PIA VPN|
|Onion over VPN||Yes||No|
NordVPN – It offers significantly more features than the PIA VPN. Both providers have the following features in common:
- AES-256 encryption
- OpenVPN tunneling protocols
- IP/DNS leak protection
- Ads, tracker, and malware blocker
- P2P support
- Browser extension
But NordVPN has multiple unique features that PIA doesn’t have:
- Onion over VPN – Combination of Tor + VPN technology for users that need greater security
- DoubleVPN – The VPN chaining technology that increases user security by routing data through 2 servers
- Dedicated IP addresses
- 6 simultaneous connections
On the other hand, PIA has only these unique features:
- 10 simultaneous connections
Aside from NordVPN and PIA VPN, PureVPN and IPVanish also offer pretty cool security features. Just to get an idea, check out our PureVPN vs IPVanish comparison.
11. NordVPN VS PIA 2021 Reddit
Result: NordVPN recommended by more Reddit users than PIA VPN.
If you head over to Reddit, you’ll see most people recommending NordVPN over Private Internet Access. Here’s one comment mentioning that NordVPN is much easier to use out of the box than PIA:
Here’s another comment stating that PIA is not what it used to be:
So, judging by most Reddit comments, NordVPN wins this round.
Other NordVPN Comparisons
Final Verdict – PIA vs NordVPN
So based on our detailed NordVPN vs PIA comparison, NordVPN is clearly the winner. PIA is still a very powerful contender with a large server network and features like port forwarding, and SOCKS5 proxy. NordVPN managed to perform better in major areas such as streaming, jurisdiction, logging policy, and more.
Nonetheless, PIA is still a very reliable and reputable VPN. However, the fact that it is headquartered in the US and lacks in some key performance areas, makes NordVPN the winner in our head-to-head comparison.