PIA vs NordVPN: Head to Head Comparison
NordVPN is the winner!
NordVPN unquestionably wins this contest as it has clear edge over PIA in following areas:
- Safer Jurisdiction: Panama
- Fast Speeds: 24.91 Mbps
- Servers: A wide network having more than 5,000 servers in 55+ countries
- Support: 24/7 live chat support is a great way NordVPN is helpful to its customers
- Netflix Support: Stable
Following is the summary of our NordVPN vs PIA VPN review.
|Logging Policy||No logs||No logs|
|Speed||24.91 Mbps||21.4 Mbps|
|Server Network||5,000+ servers|
|Customer Support||Live chat||Email/form based query submissions|
NordVPN needs no introduction to anyone who has ever looked up online privacy on Google. It is a powerful VPN service that continues to enchant the netizens with its innovative online security tools.
You can read our review to find out how good is NordVPN? It discusses the Panama-based provider in more detail.
- Privacy friendly jurisdiction
- No Logs Policy
- 6 Multiple Connections
- 24/7/365 Live Chat
- CyberSec, Multihop, DNS Leak Protection, Kill Switch
- Works with Netflix
- Good pricing packages
- No free trial
- Refund process takes time
- Does not support split-tunneling
- Does not accept PayPal
PIA VPN Overview
Private Internet Access has been around for almost 10 years now. As one of the original VPN services, PIA redefined online privacy for millions of users.
1. Jurisdiction: NordVPN vs PIA
Result: NordVPN is in the better jurisdiction of Panama as compared to PIA (US)
(Five Eyes – Unsafe)
NordVPN Jurisdiction – NordVPN has its headquarters in Panama, a country known for laws that are conducive to keeping your privacy intact.
The ISPs in Panama are not bound to follow any data retention laws, so none of your information will be kept stored by the company.
PIA Jurisdiction – PIA is located in the US and you probably already know why that is the worst location for a VPN to be headquartered in.
This is one of the few things about PIA that raises red flags about the VPN, giving this Nord VPN vs PIA comparison our first round winner.
2. Logging Policy
Result: NordVPN has a clearer and proven no-logging policy. PIA’s logging policy is more vague.
|No logs retained||No traffic logs, but overall policy is vague|
NordVPN – comes with a great logging policy that guarantees no storage of user data logs.
With no time stamps, IP addresses, and bandwidth logs, there is no way that any authority can compromise your privacy even if they had the means to.
3. Pricing, Payment Methods, and Refund Policy
Result: PIA is slightly cheaper than NordVPN by $0.16. PIA costs $3.33/month whereas NordVPN’s cheapest price is $3.49/month for their 3 years plan. However, NordVPN has a user friendly 30-day refund policy compared to PIA’s 7-day refund period.
|1-month plan: $11.95/mo||1-month plan: $9.95/mo|
|6-month plan: none||6-month plan: $5.99/mo|
|1-year plan: $6.99/mo||1-year plan: $3.33/mo|
|2-year plan: $4.99/mo||2-year plan: none|
|3-year plan: $3.49/mo||3-year plan: none|
NordVPN Pricing – The available subscriptions include a 3-year plan, 2-year plan, 1-year plan, and 1-month. The best offer out of these is the 3-year subscription which can be purchased for $3.49/mo .
The payment options are wide enough to suit most users as it supports credit cards, bitcoins, Alipay, and a few other methods.
All their packages are refundable within a period of 30 days.
PIA Pricing – The subscription packages of PIA include monthly, yearly, and a two-year plan. Although these corresponding packages are cheaper. The best deal of PIA ($3.33/month) is still more expensive than the best deal of NordVPN.
These packages come with a 7-day money-back guarantee.
PIA accepts all major modes of payment including PayPal, credit cards, and bitcoin.
Nonetheless, PIA loses out to NordVPN in this round because of shorter refund period and pricing.
4. Speed: NordVPN vs Private Internet Access
Result: NordVPN is faster by 3.53 Mbps than PIA
Speed is another key performance factor to determine the better service between these two.
|US: 25.46 Mbps||US: 19.16 Mbps|
|UK: 25.09 Mbps||UK: 25.78 Mbps|
|Germany: 24.29 Mbps||Germany: 22.25 Mbps|
|Australia: 24.81 Mbps||Australia: 18.4 Mbps|
|Avg. Download: 24.91 Mbps||Avg. Download: 21.39 Mbps|
NordVPN Speed – Testing the service on a 30 Mbps connection, NordVPN didn’t disappoint delivering remarkably good speeds at 25.46 Mbps on US servers. Whereas the provider’s average speed was 24.91 Mbps.
PIA Speed – PIA couldn’t deliver the level of speed that NordVPN so effortlessly offers, but it is still better than 90% of the VPN services out there.
However, on average, PIA has an average speed of 21.39 Mbps as you can see in our page on fastest VPN services. It’s US server speed was 19.16 Mbps during our tests.
Therefore, NordVPN once again, is the winner in this round.
5. Server Network: PIA vs. NordVPN
Result: NordVPN has 2,000 more servers than PIA.
|5,000+ servers in 55+ countries||3,000+ servers in 29 countries|
NordVPN Servers – It has high number of servers as compared to PIA. To attract the clients from all over the world, providers offer as many servers as possible. This is where NordVPN outdoes PIA.
The server network of the provider includes more than 5,000 servers with presence in 55+ countries.
The remarkable thing about NordVPN’s network is that it uses physical servers entirely, with no virtual servers at all.
Check out our article on the difference between physical and virtual servers to learn the implications of server types on your privacy.
PIA Servers – hosts a pretty decent server network size consisting of 3,000+ VPN servers. However, it covers a smaller geographic area as the servers are present in 29 countries.
Private Internet Access also uses entirely bare-metal (physical) servers in their network which ensure high stability, reliability, and performance.
Perform a check whether these providers offer servers in your desired locations:
|Bosnia & Herzegovina||Yes||No|
|British Virgin Islands||No||No|
|Isle of Man||No||No|
|Papua New Guinea||No||No|
|Trinidad and Tobago||Yes||No|
|Turks and Caicos Island||No||No|
|United Arab Emirates (UAE)||Yes||Yes|
|United Kingdom (UK)||Yes||Yes|
|United States (USA)||Yes||Yes|
6. Compatibility: NordVPN vs Private Internet Access
Result: Both offer support for common devices and platforms
|Chrome and Firefox||Chrome, Firefox and Opera|
|Android TV||Android TV|
On the compatibility front, both NordVPN and PIA offer apps for all popular platforms/devices, as well as manual support for routers. As such, both of these providers are evenly contested when it comes to compatibility.
7. Performance and Reliability: PIA vs NordVPN
Result: NordVPN has better designed apps with superior performance than PIA VPN
|Simple and interactive GUI||Basic GUI|
|Well-functioning app||Good functionality|
|Good connectivity||Fair connectivity|
NordVPN Performance – The VPN apps offered by Nord are quite responsive and functional. The app makes it easy to configure settings and preferences, so you can get into it instantly.
The apps aren’t without any bugs or errors, however. But these are of the mild kinds and you normally wouldn’t encounter them anyway.
PIA VPN Performance – The PIA apps are not as well-designed as Nord’s. From a visual point of view, PIA doesn’t impress you at all. It is a simple client that lives in your taskbar.
Connecting to a server from the app can take a little longer than what you might be accustomed to if you’ve used NordVPN before, which is what makes PIA less impressive than NordVPN.
8. Customer Support: PIA vs NordVPN
Result: NordVPN offers live chat support with a response time of 30 seconds
|Live chat||No live chat support|
|Email support||Email support|
In this comparison, we found that NordVPN is obviously better than PIA. We reached NordVPN’s customer support over live chat to find find out how quickly they respond to general queries.
We were pleasantly surprised to see that it only took 30 seconds for NordVPN to entertain our query.
Private Internet Access is notably inferior when it comes to providing support to the users. It doesn’t offer live chat functionality, all you can do is fill a form and wait for a response via email.
As such, NordVPN wins this round for excellent and responsive live chat support.
9. Torrenting: Private Internet Access vs NordVPN
Result: NordVPN offers better security and speed than PIA for torrent downloaders.
The PIA vs NordVPN comparison would be incomplete without a word on their ability to unblock torrenting sites and support for safe downloading of torrents.
NordVPN has a wide range of P2P-enabled servers that allow you to access blocked torrenting websites and securely download torrents. The system-wide kill switch available in Windows app of the VPN ensures that your IP doesn’t leak while you are torrenting, which may tip off authorities working against copyright infringement.
PIA also supports P2P networking and torrenting on its servers. In fact, it has a port-forwarding feature especially 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 they receive and so might be compelled to disclose your identity if authorities come asking.
With NordVPN, this is a non-issue as Panama is not bound to comply with any such notices.
This is why NordVPN has the upper-hand over PIA in this round.
10. Netflix Unblocking: PIA VPN vs NordVPN
Result: NordVPN has better ability to unblock US Netflix than PIA
Netflix streaming is one of the more common reasons that people use VPN services for. Therefore, the choice between NordVPN or PIA can shift either way if you’re primarily interested in unblocking US Netflix to access a larger library of shows.
NordVPN effortlessly unblocks Netflix to enable HD quality streaming.
On the other hand, PIA is often unable to work with Netflix. To be sure, there are times when it does unblock Netflix, but you can’t expect it to consistently do so.
Thus, NordVPN is a more reliable option if you want to stream Netflix.
For more information about the ability of different VPNs to work with Netflix, see our article on Netflix VPN.
11. Security and Features
Result: NordVPN has wider range of features than PIA, but both have strong security in place.
There isn’t much that PIA offers an extra features. It offers a basic ad, tracker, and malware blocker for keeping your security maintained on the web.
Both providers have strong basic security.
NordVPN experiences no problems related to IP or DNS leaks and successfully passed the leak test as shown below (you can check out our VPN leak test guide for more details).
PIA VPN also keeps you protected from IP or DNS leaks.
Both providers have the following features in common:
- AES-256 encryption
- OpenVPN tunneling protocols
- IP/DNS leak protection
- 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
- CyberSec – An ads, tracker, and online malware blocking tool for safer browsing
- 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 these unique features:
- 10 simultaneous connections
Result: NordVPN is more transparent than PIA and has undergone independent audits.
NordVPN Transparency – The provider is owned by Tefincom S.A. NordVPN does not publish transparency reports, but have made some efforts recently to improve transparency.
For instance, the company was successfully audited by an undisclosed auditing firm. The provider also has a warrant canary to keep users posted about any gag orders or user data disclosure requests from authorities.
So far, the provider has not complied with any such requests which inspires user trust.
PIA VPN Transparency – Owned by London Trust Media, Inc. is one of the few providers in the industry that publishes a transparency report bi-annually.
However, the logging policy of the company is not that clear about the types of logging it is involved in, so users can make a better decision and us reviewers can make better evaluations of the service.
As such, both NordVPN and PIA deserve acknowledgement for their efforts to come clear in transparency, but they both need to improve on this point.
13. Which is Better for Australia?
Result: PIA VPN has slightly more servers in Australia, but both providers work well within the country
Both NordVPN and PIA have servers in Australia and in fairly good amount. While NordVPN has 186 servers in Australia, PIA goes even farther by offering 195 servers.
Since this difference in number is trivial and both VPNs have well-functioning physical servers deployed in Australia, you can use either VPN if servers in Australia are what you are looking for.
Final Verdict: NordVPN is the winner!
The winner in this comparison is NordVPN as it beats PIA in many key areas such as Netflix unblocking, privacy-friendly jurisdiction, logging policy, and a huge server network, NordVPN is clearly the superior service.
- Which of the two is in safer jurisdiction?– NordVPN
- Which one has a user friendly logging policy?– NordVPN
- Which VPN is cheaper?– PIA
- Which VPN is faster?– NordVPN
- Which of the two has better server network?– NordVPN
- Which one is better in performance?– NordVPN
- Which VPN has better customer support?– Nord VPN
- Which one is better for torrenting?– NordVPN
- Which one is better for Netflix?– NordVPN
- Which one is better for Australia?– Tie
Nonetheless, PIA still has many loyal customers and the consistent reliability of this VPN makes it an honorable mention.