NordVPN vs PIA (Private Internet Access): Detailed Comparison 2022
Both (PIA Vs NordVPN) are popular names in the marketplace of VPNs used by thousands around the world. Which service is better in terms of security, privacy, streaming, torrenting?
To learn which one emerges victorious in all aspects, read this in-depth NordVPN vs Private Internet Access VPN comparison. Here we will be analyzing both providers on multiple factors.
NordVPN vs PIA (Private Internet Access): Direct Comparison
|Servers||5600+ Servers in 59+ Countries||35,000 Servers in 78 Countries|
|Logs Policy||Strict No-Logs Policy||Strict No-Logs Policy|
|Free Trial||7-Day Free Trial on Android and iOS||7-Day Free Trial on Android and iOS|
|VPN Protocols||IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN, NordLynx (WireGuard)||OpenVPN, WireGuard|
|Streaming Platforms||Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney+, and more||HBO Max, Disney+, YouTube|
|Compatibility||Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, Firefox, Opera, Chrome|
|Money-Back Guarantee Period||30 Days||30 Days|
|Customer Support||24/7 Live Chat, FAQs, Knowledge Base, Email||Live Chat, Knowledge Base, Tickets|
|Best Deal||$3.99/mo. on the 2-Year Plan||$2.03/mo. on the 3-Year Plan|
Why Choose NordVPN?
- A good choice for streaming. NordVPN can easily unblock more than 15 Netflix libraries of major countries as well as other platforms, including Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, DAZN, HBO Max, and more.
- Blazing fast speeds. The NordLynx protocol is super-fast and I experienced no loss while using NordVPN.
- User-friendly apps. NordVPN offers easy-to-navigate apps for all platforms including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and even Linux.
For more information, visit our detailed NordVPN guide!
Why Choose PIA (Private Internet Access)?
- A good choice for P2P file sharing and torrenting. PIA fully supports torrenting and all the servers are optimized for P2P file sharing.
- A massive network of servers. PIA boasts a network of more than 30,000 servers in 77 countries, which is more than most other VPN providers.
- Ideal VPN for China. PIA is one of the few VPNs that can still be used in China. The Shadowsocks proxy is effective in bypassing the Great Firewall of China from which you can use all the blocked apps smoothly.
For more information, visit our detailed Private Internet Access guide!
WHAT’S IN THIS GUIDE
- Unblocking Capabilities
- Servers & Speed
- Other Comparisons to Check Out
NordVPN vs PIA (Private Internet Access): Detailed Comparison
NordVPN and Private Internet Access (PIA) are two of the most popular VPN providers. But which one is better?
In this NordVPN vs PIA comparison, we’ll take a detailed look at both providers to see how they compare on key factors such as pricing, features, unblocking capabilities, security, servers, speed, and privacy.
|1-Year Plan||$4.99/mo. ($59.88 upfront)||$3.33/mo. ($39.95 upfront)|
|2-Year Plan||$3.99/mo. ($99.63 upfront)||N/A|
|3-Year Plan||N/A||$2.03/mo. ($79)|
NordVPN offers 3 plans:
- The NordVPN monthly plan costs $11.99/mo.
- The NordVPN yearly plan costs $4.99/mo. ($59.88 upfront for the first time).
- The NordVPN two-year plan costs $3.99/mo. ($99.63 upfront for the first 2 years) with 3 free months.
All the plans are covered by an active 30-day money-back guarantee offer and users can pay for their subscription plans via Credit Cards, Debit Cards, and even Cryptocurrency.
Private Internet Access
PIA offers 3 plans:
- The PIA monthly plan costs $11.95/mo.
- The PIA yearly plan costs $3.33/mo. ($39.95 upfront).
- The PIA three-year plan costs $2.03/mo. ($79 upfront) with 3 free months.
All PIA plans have a 30-day money-back guarantee and you can pay with your Credit Card, PayPal, or Cryptocurrency.
|Operating System Apps||Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV||Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux|
|Manual Install Devices||Set-Top Boxes, Routers, and Linux||Some Routers|
|Free Extras||Browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, CyberSec, DoubleVPN, SmartPlay||SOCKS5 Proxy and ad/tracker blocker|
When it comes to selecting a VPN service, you need to have advanced features available. NordVPN has always stood at the forefront of privacy innovations.
It offers a unique set of tools, which I have listed for your convenience below. All these features position the VPN higher than others in the marketplace, as you receive maximum security/privacy at all times.
However, PIA does not seem to back off either. The provider, despite being incredibly cheap, stands its ground against NordVPN. It offers most of the same features/technologies available with NordVPN.
Sadly, it fails at offering advanced features like DoubleVPN and Onion over VPN, which are enjoyed by NordVPN customers for leveraging maximum security online.
NordVPN comes with a number of features that make it one of the best VPN providers in the market.
For devices that cannot run native VPN apps like Roku, Chromecast, Xbox, or PlayStation, you just have to install NordVPN on your router with manual configuration.
However, make sure your router is compatible with NordVPN. Here is a list of compatible routers and firmware.
Other features of NordVPN include; Split tunneling that allow you to route some of your traffic through the VPN while the rest goes through your ISP. This can be useful if you want to unblock a streaming service on one device while still being able to access your local network on another.
NordVPN also offers Double VPN, which encrypts your data twice for double protection, and Onion Over VPN, which routes your traffic through the NordVPN network and then the Onion Router. This makes it virtually impossible for anyone to snoop on your activities.
There is a dedicated IP address feature that you can avail with some of the NordVPN servers. This is useful if you need a static IP for gaming, remote access to your home network, or accessing certain financial services.
The customer support of NordVPN is very good and you can get help 24/7 via live chat or email. You can also find helpful guides and FAQs on the NordVPN website.
The Private Internet Access reviews for features give NordVPN a healthy competition as the provider also comes with a number of handy tools.
With 10 simultaneous connections allowed on one account, PIA gives you more flexibility than NordVPN. You can use the VPN on all major platforms including Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and browsers including Firefox, Chrome, and Opera.
To cover more than 10 devices, you can install PIA on your router. While PIA supports some routers that come with built-in VPN support, the company recommends getting a FlashRouter for an easy plug-and-play solution.
PIA offers a secure Kill Switch tool that protects your identity and data in case the VPN connection suddenly drops. The company also provides an advanced feature called MACE that blocks ads, trackers, and malware while you are online.
PIA comes with an advanced split tunneling feature that allows you to route traffic from selected apps through the VPN while the rest goes through your ISP.
The customer support of PIA is available 24/7 via the live chat option but you can also use the ticketing system to submit a support request. You can also find helpful guides and FAQs on the PIA website.
In terms of unblocking, NordVPN definitely tends to be more proactive and reliable. All of its servers utilize strong encryption and security technologies for unblocking VoDs. You can even set-up & use NordVPN on Apple TV for accessing movies, shows, and to leverage from the streaming services.
PIA, on the other hand, does not offer much in the way of unblocking. It is a hit-and-miss scenario most of the time. What is most alarming is the lack of Netflix Private Internet Access unblocking.
As such, If I were to talk on the basis of streaming, NordVPN would be the best choice. PIA still needs to improve its unblocking capabilities to justify its price and customers buying it.
I have tested both NordVPN and PIA unblocking capabilities and here are the detailed results of my tests:
I tested all the major streaming platforms including Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and HBO Max with the NordVPN servers and it was able to unblock all without any problems.
Easily unblocked US Netflix with NordVPN to watch “The Walking Dead” with no buffering issues
The NordVPN US server allowed me to unblock Hulu and watch “Family Guy”
The US server of NordVPN immediately unblocked HBO Max and I could easily stream “Game of Thrones”
“Avengers: End Game” on Disney+ was easily unblocked by the NordVPN US server
The results for PIA were not as impressive as NordVPN’s were. I tried unblocking the same streaming sites and the results are as follows.
Upon testing, PIA could not unblock US Netflix as the title “The Walking Dead” didn’t appear in the search results, which was easily available to watch with the US server of NordVPN
Even after trying more than 6 US servers, I was not able to unblock Hulu. The error message in the screenshot above kept on displaying every time I accessed Hulu with a new US server
I used the US Florida server to unblock HBO Max to watch “Dune: Part 1”
I was able to unblock Disney+ with the US Chicago server to watch “Thor: Ragnarok”
|VPN Protocols||OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, NordLynx||OpenVPN, WireGuard|
|Leak Protection||Wi-Fi, DNS/WebRTC/IP Leak Protection||DNS/WebRTC/IP Leak Protection|
One of the best things about NordVPN has to be its strong privacy and security. The provider is simply undetectable to websites, thanks to its large pool of shared IPs.
Add this to NordVPN’s support for all protocols, including IKEv2, NordLynx, and OpenVPN. You can feel assured to receive maximum anonymity. For the data channel, NordVPN uses 256-CBC ciphers with HMAC SHA256 hash authentication.
For its control channel, NordVPN uses the same hash authentication and ciphers above, with the addition of an RSA-2048. A strong DHE-4096 key exchange is used for setting up Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS).
If you are using the iOS app, NordVPN changes its encryption. All connections use the IKEv2 protocol with AES-256-GCM ciphers with HMAC SHA2-384 data authentication.
Despite being a US-based provider, Private Internet Access (PIA) maintains an incredibly strong network of servers. They utilize strong encryption ciphers on WireGuard and OpenVPN Protocols.
For the data channel, PIA uses the infamous military-grade; AES-256-bit ciphers with SHA256 for data authentication and RSA-4096 for a handshake. PFE is available via DHE+RSA exchange.
For the control channel, PIA uses the same ciphers and hash authentication, with the inclusion of SHA384 for authentication. Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFE) is available via ECDHE+ECDSA.
In short, you receive great privacy with both providers. NordVPN, however, goes the extra mile by offering the NordLynx Protocol and features like Dedicated IPs and Onion over VPN.
The NordVPN network is very secure with military-grade AES-256-bit encryption. The provider uses the most advanced security protocols including IKEv2/IPSec, OpenVPN, and NordLynx.
The NordLynx protocol is based on the WireGuard protocol and is exclusive to NordVPN. It offers better speeds and security than the other protocols. It uses the double NAT system to enhance the WireGuard protocol.
NordVPN also offers a number of security features including CyberSec Threat Protection that blocks ads and malware, Double VPN that encrypts your data twice, Onion Over VPN that routes your traffic through the NordVPN network and then the Onion Router, and a built-in Kill Switch that protects your identity and data in case the VPN connection suddenly drops.
NordVPN doesn’t log or track your data and activities according to its strict no-logs policy which has been audited by an independent third party known as PwC. PwC is one of the big four auditing companies in the world.
NordVPN also offers a Smart DNS feature called SmartPlay that allows you to unblock geo-restricted content on streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, etc. However, the feature doesn’t encrypt your traffic so do not take it as a replacement for a VPN.
NordVPN doesn’t leak your data and activities as I have tested it with various leak tests including DNS, WebRTC, and IP leak tests. Here are the leak test results:
The encryption method of PIA works on the AES-256-bit ciphers with 2048-bit key. The provider uses security protocols including OpenVPN, and WireGuard.
PIA has a number of security features that include a kill switch, DNS leak protection, IP leak protection, and an advanced feature called MACE that blocks ads, trackers, and malware.
The company doesn’t log your data or activities according to its strict no-logs policy.
The advance split tunneling feature of PIA allows you to route traffic from selected apps through the VPN while the rest goes through your ISP.
The PIA Smart DNS enables you change your virtual location on your Smart TV and other streaming devices to have easy access to major platforms like Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, and more.
I tested PIA for DNS, WebRTC, and IP leak tests and the results were positive which means PIA doesn’t leak your data.
Servers & Speed
|Total Number of Servers||5,600||35,000|
In light of this, I decided to conduct a performance assessment of both providers. This involved testing max download bandwidths of NordVPN and PIA for different servers in varied countries. I then noted the average speeds received.
If I talk about NordVPN, all servers were highly speedy. Of course, those located far away displayed mediocre performance.
For Private Internet Access (PIA), the results were decent but it is safe to say that NordVPN wins in this domain. Check out the speed test results below.
NordVPN has one of the largest server networks in the VPN industry with 5600+
servers in 59+ countries covering
- Middle East,
- Asia Pacific, and
The provider also offers specialty servers for PUBG, Call of Duty: Warzone, Minecraft, and other gaming platforms.
The NordVPN network is very fast as it uses the most advanced security protocols including NordLynx and OpenVPN. I have tested the NordVPN servers for speed and the results are as follows.
NordVPN Speed Test for US
NordVPN Speed Test for UK
NordVPN Speed Test for Canada
NordVPN Speed Test for New Zealand
NordVPN Speed Test for Australia
PIA has a decent server network of more than 35,000 servers in 78 countries, covering
- Asia Pacific,
- Africa, and others.
The provider doesn’t offer any specialty servers but it offers SOCKS proxy with all its plans.
The PIA server network is very fast as it uses the WireGuard protocol. I have tested the PIA servers for speed and the results are as follows.
PIA Speed Test for US
PIA Speed Test for UK
PIA Speed Test for Canada
PIA Speed Test for New Zealand
PIA Speed Test for Australia
|Sign Up Information||Email Address||Email Address|
If we compare the two, NordVPN tends to be a safer option because of its jurisdiction. The provider is away from Five, Nine, Fourteen Eyes Alliances with its headquarters in safe Panama.
The provider has a strict no-logs policy which has been independently audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which is one of the Big Four Accounting Firms.
Private Internet Acess (PIA), on the other hand, has its HQ in the US. The country is the founding member of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances and boasts the most invasive laws.
It mandates Mass Surveillance and Data retention from whether that be internet service providers, telecom providers, or Virtual Private Network providers.
As such, if you want to remain safe and secure from the prying eyes of the government, intelligence agencies, and copyright infringement hunters, PIA is not a reliable option.
NordVPN offers both static and dynamic IP addresses. A static IP address is a unique IP that is assigned to only one device and it doesn’t change. A dynamic IP address is shared by multiple devices and it changes from time to time.
NordVPN protects you from DDoS attacks which makes it a perfect VPN for gaming.
NordVPN also has support for NAT Firewall, which is a network security system that filters incoming and outgoing traffic and blocks unsolicited connections.
Just like NordVPN, PIA also offers both static and dynamic IP addresses. But unlike NordVPN, PIA offers Port Forwarding to all of its users. However, you’ll have one randomly-assigned port number.
PIA VPN protects against DDoS attacks by assigning you a new IP address and it also has support for NAT Firewall.
Other Comparisons to Check Out
NordVPN vs PIA: Our Winner
NordVPN is our winner in this PIA vs NordVPN comparison. There is no doubt that both are great names in the marketplace.
However, NordVPN has greater value and beats PIA in major categories like streaming, speed, and security features.
The provider offers a dedicated SmartPlay feature for smooth streaming on major platforms. Along with that, it offers more servers that are optimized to unblock popular sites like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and more.
As evident from the speed test results above, NordVPN is undoubtedly blazing fast and a better choice for hardcore activities like gaming.
And security features like Double VPN, Dedicated IPs, Onion over VPN, and P2P servers further strengthen NordVPN’s case.
NordVPN’s location is also incredibly strategic, whereas PIA has its base of operations in the US (an unsafe location). So considering all the above-mentioned factors, I would advise using NordVPN!
NordVPN vs PIA: FAQs
Why is PIA so slow?
If you’re using the PIA app and experiencing a slow connection, then we recommend you to change the ports that your application is connecting to. It should solve the problem.
Does Netflix detect NordVPN?
NordVPN works well with Netflix. The VPN is less reliable than it was before as the streaming giant has enhanced its algorithm of eliminating VPN-generated IPs but NordVPN can still unblock US Netflix and other 10 libraries.
Is PIA good for gaming?
Yes! Private Internet Access is one of the fastest VPNs for gaming. It has a massive network of 35,000 servers in 78 countries that allows you to connect to international servers. What makes this VPN a great choice for gaming is the DDoS protection it offers.
Is it easy to cancel NordVPN?
You cannot cancel your NordVPN subscription plan within the app. Nonetheless, the easiest method is to cancel your automatic payment and request a refund via live chat. It’ll take 4 to 5 days till you get your money back.
Does NordVPN have a free trial period?
You can get NordVPN with the free trial hack for 30 days. The robust money-back offer allows you to use the VPN risk-free and you can get your money back after generating a refund request within 30 days of your purchase.
You can also use the 7-day NordVPN free trial but it is only available for Android and iOS.
Is NordVPN good for Torrenting?
NordVPN provides numerous benefits that help make them the best choice for secure and anonymous torrenting. The NordVPN app has dedicated P2P servers that allows you to achieve 100% privacy while torrenting.
However, if you go with Private Internet Access torrenting, then that’s a great VPN too.