NordVPN vs. PIA (Private Internet Access) – Who Will Takes the Trophy?

Last updated: September 18, 2019
Muhammad Hamza Shahid

Muhammad Hamza Shahid

Muhammad Hamza Shahid is an online privacy/security advocate at, who loves sharing his expert knowledge regarding the latest trends in user privacy, cyber laws, and digital affairs. Apart from writing blogs/articles relating to anonymity, he also writes detailed VPN reviews.

Pitting NordVPN against ExpressVPN was unquestionably a fascinating combat to see. I told you that the competition reminded us about the battle between Goku and Jiren. Well, I hope you excuse my Dragon Ball Super obsession, as we move on to review NordVPN vs. PIA. This battle between the two is like telling Goku to fight against the Namekian we all love, Piccolo. While the green-bada$$ is incredibly powerful and strategic, he is simply no match for Goku, who battles Gods!

Nordvpn vs PIA
NordVPN is comparatively a better VPN service against PIA. This is because NordVPN has outweighed PIA with 61 points having the best functionality.

NordVPN vs. Private Internet Access: Overview

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, NordVPN is one of the best in the industry. The VPN is an all-rounder that does not let anything slide. Based in Panama and Established in 2012, it offers static IPs for personal use, excellent encryption for anonymity, remarkable privacy for P2P, and amazing unblocking capabilities. It even offers the largest server database in the marketplace currently.

Private Internet Access, on the other hand, is the best US-based VPN provider. This automatically reduces its credibility, as US is a part of five and fourteen eyes alliances. However, the VPN has never actually been caught revealing private data to authorities. It is quite loved and offers cheap pricing, strong encryption options, and stands the closest to tackling NordVPNs huge list of servers.

  • Panama-based (outside US and EU Jurisdictions)
  • 2-Year Plan: $4.99/mo. (Billed $119.76)
  • Encryption: Military Grade AES-256-CBC
  • Total Servers: 5604 in 60 Countries
  • Refund Guarantee: 30 Days
  • P2P/Torrenting: Yes
  • Netflix Unblock: Yes
  • Based in the US (Unsafe Location)
  • 2-Year Plan: 3.33/mo. (Billed $79.92)
  • Encryption: AES 256, SHA256, RSA-4096
  • Total Servers: 3152 in 33 Countries
  • Refund Guarantee: 7 Days
  • P2P/Torrenting: Yes
  • Netflix Unblock: Yes

Nordvpn vs PIA: Servers

Since VPNs are crucial tools for unblocking/streaming/torrenting, it is vital that you receive good speeds. The last thing you need is suffering from a turtle internet. 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. The average though peaked at 43Mbps, indicating a speed loss of 5%. For Private Internet Access (PIA), the results were no match for NordVPN. The average speeds peaked at 38Mbps, indicated a speed loss of 25%. There is a great need for improvement in connection speeds for PIA!

Nordvpn vs PIA: Pricing

The pricing is the main selling point of providers in the VPN industry. Users often go for services that tend to be the cheapest VPN. However, even with some expensive plans, you can take advantage of amazing deals. For instance, the monthly pricing for NordVPN starts at $11.95.  If you want to leverage cheap pricing though, you can opt for their bi-annual plan. It gives users a 24% discount, totaling only $54.

Therefore, the longer the duration of the subscription, the cheaper the pricing with NordVPN. Say you go for the yearly plan. You will only have to pay $6.99/mo., which means you receive a discount of 41%. For users who want to leverage the best value, you can go for the 2-year plan. This reduces the monthly costs to $4.99, indicating a discount of 58%. This means, you only pay $119.76 for 24-months.

PIA definitely manages to be cheaper than NordVPN. It offers some of the best rates in the marketplace. This makes it a top choice for budget-conscious buyers. The monthly pricing for Private Internet Access (PIA) starts at $6.95. If you want a better deal, you can go for their yearly plan. It reduces the pricing to 3.33 per month, which means you receive a massive discount of 52%.

As a result, users will only have to pay $39.96. For the best value, users can opt for the 2-year plan. It reduces the monthly pricing to $2.91, giving users a massive 58% discount. This means, you only have to pay $69.84 for two years. For refunds, PIA only offers a 7-day money-back guarantee. However, if you go for NordVPN, you can leverage a 3-day free trial, along with a 30-day refund guarantee.

  • Monthly Pricing: $11.95
  • Yearly Costs: $6.99/mo.(41% Discount) = $83.88
  • 2-Year Plan: $4.99/mo. (58% Discount) = $119.76
  • 30 Days Money Back Guarantee Available
  • 3-Day Free Trial
  • Monthly Pricing: $6.95
  • Yearly Costs: 3.33/mo. (52% Discount) = $39.95
  • 2-Year Plan: $2.50/mo. (64% Discount) = $59.95
  • 7 Days Money Back Guarantee Available
  • No Free Trial

Nordvpn vs Private Internet Access: Privacy

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 NordVPNs support for all protocols, including IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, 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 L2TP/IPSec 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 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 CyberSec Protocol and features like Dedicated IPs and Onion over VPN.

  • Data encryption: AES-256-CBC
  • Data authentication: SHA384
  • Handshake: DHE-4096
  • CyberSec Protocol
  • Onion Over VPN
  • Automatic Kill Switch
  • Dedicated IPs Available
  • Panama-Based (Strategic Location)
  • Data encryption: AES-256
  • Data authentication: SHA256
  • Handshake: RSA-4096
  • Port Forwarding
  • DNS Leak Protection
  • Disconnect Protection
  • Alternate Configurations
  • US-Based (Part of 14-Eyes Alliance)

Nordvpn vs PIA: Features

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. This leaves determining the winner among the two to a simple facet: simultaneous connections. Where the Panama-based provider grants six simultaneous connections, PIA offers five multi-logins. You can now decide the better choice for yourself!

  • DNS Leak Protection
  • DoubleVPN Service
  • IPV6 Leak Protection
  • Automatic Server Selection
  • Ad/Tracker Blocker
  • SOCKS5 Proxy Available
  • 6 Simultaneous Connections
  • Browser Proxy Extensions
  • DNS Leak Protection
  • DoubleVPN Service
  • IPV6 Leak Protection
  • Port Forwarding
  • PIA Mace (For blocking ads/malware)
  • 5 Simultaneous Connections
  • Disconnect Protection

Nordvpn vs Private Internet Access Torrenting and P2P

In terms of P2P/Torrenting, both NordVPN torrenting and Private Internet Access (PIA) tend to offer amazing compatibility. Each provider offers the relevant features required for granting you maximum anonymity for downloading files via torrenting. It is safe to say that both providers have a tie around for this particular aspect of using the Fastest VPN. They offer more or less the same features.

These include Port Forwarding, SOCKS5 Proxy, and Multiple Gateways. In terms of connectivity, NordVPN offers a huge collection of 5100+ servers in 62+ countries. Out of these, users have P2P friendly servers in 28 countries worldwide. PIA gives users access to 3160+ Servers in 33 Countries. However, just like NordVPN, it has P2P friendly servers in 28 countries!

  • Port Forwarding
  • SOCKS5 Proxy
  • Multiple Gateways
  • P2P Friendly Servers (28 Countries)
  • Port Forwarding
  • SOCKS5 Proxy
  • Multiple Gateways
  • P2P Friendly Servers (28 Countries)

Nordvpn vs PIA: Netflix and China

To get a better idea on the VPN apps of NordVPN and PIA, I decided to conduct an unblocking test. This process involved connecting to different VPN servers. Then, visiting various blocked websites to see if the VPN successfully bypasses geo-restrictions. NordVPN worked amazingly, especially when connected to their Obfuscated Servers. I was easily able to bypass “The Great Firewall”.

At the same time, I also received no issues when unblocking the US Netflix and its complete library. For PIA, the results were quite similar. Though you do not have Stealth Servers available like NordVPN, PIA offers a strong IPSec/L2TP connection. It was successfully able to bypass the Chinese firewall, while unblocking the American Netflix, seamlessly. It is a tie again!

  • Obfuscated Servers (Bypass the Great Firewall)
  • DoubleVPN for Maximum Anonymity
  • Unblocks American Netflix
  • Strong IPSEC/L2TP Connection
  • Split Tunneling Available
  • Unblocks US Netflix


NordVPN vs. PIA: Customer Support Service

In terms of support, NordVPN does a far better job in assisting customers, in comparison to PIA. The provider offers 6 different mediums for getting help, where PIA only gives you access to 4. This in itself positions the Panama-based provider higher than the US-based service.

Add this to the incredibly fast 24/7 live chat support, and NordVPN gives the best bang for your buck. Conversely, PIA despite being in the industry for quite a few years, does not offer live chat as a support option. This is quite disappointing, to say the least.

The US-based provider only offers email and ticket support, and even in that, they give late responses. Their average response time is somewhere between 7 to 8 hours, which is quite a lot especially considering users require instant assistance to queries.

In terms of the knowledge base, PIA uses screenshots for elaborating in their tutorials, whereas NordVPN offers comprehensive video walkthroughs for specific tasks like fixing connectivity issues. To learn more about both providers’ customer support, refer to the tables below:

  • Phone Support: NO
  • Knowledgebase: YES
  • Video Guides: YES
  • Email Support: YES
  • Ticket Support: YES
  • Live Chat Support: YES
  • Average Response Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Navigation Bar (Search Engine): YES
  • Phone Support: NO
  • Knowledgebase: YES
  • Video Guides: YES
  • Email Support: YES
  • Ticket Support: YES
  • Live Chat Support: YES
  • Average Response Time: 7 hours, 30 minutes
  • Navigation Bar (Search Engine): YES

Private Internet Access (PIA)

QuestionResponse TimeSolution GivenEmail Count
Why is PIA located in a Five Eyes Country? 3 hours, 27 MinutesYes2
What method does PIA use for hash authentication?7 hours, 12 minutesYes1
Can I install PIA on Android TVs?1 hour, 45 MinutesYes1



QuestionResponse TimeSolution GivenEmail Count
What is your connection to the company called “CloudVPN”?7 MinutesYes2
Is it possible to configure NordVPN on Raspberry Pi?10 MinutesYes1
Why Am I Getting the “Connection Timed Out” Error on the Windows Client?5 HoursYes2


If we talk about email support, NordVPN was way more proactive in its replies than PIA. The US-based provider took its sweet time in replying to our queries. This may not prove exactly helpful if a customer is in need of urgent assistance. Especially, if they cannot find an answer in the Knowledgebase offered by the provider. NordVPN definitely wins this one.

NordVPN vs. PIA: Unblocking Capabilities

In terms of unblocking VoDs and streaming sites, NordVPN tends to offer greater success. Users can easily access all versions of Netflix, thanks to the providers’ huge 5,200+ server listing. They can even unblock Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu.

PIA, on the other hand, did not unblock Netflix or any other major streaming platform, including Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, and ABC. They do not offer specialized servers like NordVPN or ExpressVPN, for those who lean towards unblocking and streaming more.

TV ServiceNordVPNPIA
Amazon PrimeYesNo
HuluJapan and USJapan and US
Sky GoYesYes
NetflixAll Netflix VersionsNo
Channel 4YesYes
BBC iPlayerYesNo
Sling TVYesYes

NordVPN vs. PIA: Advance Features and Tools

Though we have listed some of the features of both providers, it is still necessary to make an accurate comparison. In light of this, we decided to create a proper table for users to check some of the main differences between the two providers, based on the features available. Look at the results below to determine the winner:

Split TunnelingPIASplit Tunneling grants users the ability to decide what traffic routes through the VPN and your local ISP concurrently.

Unfortunately, NordVPN does not come equipped with the Split Tunneling feature, which means PIA wins this one!

Dedicated IPsNordVPNDedicated IPs grant better security for accessing banking information and unblocking VoDs. They also tend to be faster and safer.

NordVPN offers dedicated IPs in 42 countries (prices ranging from $7.90 to $19.75). PIA does not offer static IPs at all.

DDoS ProtectionNordVPNDDoS attacks are common for gamers/programmers/businesses, where the perpetrator makes a network resource unavailable.

Sadly, PIA does not offer any protection against such attacks, whereas NordVPN comes equipped with built-in DDoS Protection.

Multi-hopNordVPNMulti-Hop aka DoubleVPN creates a connection that routes your network through two different country servers for privacy.

NordVPN creates its own special MultiHop feature for guaranteeing strong anonymity. PIA is yet to offer such a tool! 

Leak ProtectionTieLeak Protection tools are the primary selling points of most VPN providers. They are crucial for protecting your identity.

Both NordVPN and PIA offer DNS Leak Protection, IPv6 Protection, and WebRTC Protection. This makes it a tie between the two!

Proxy AvailabilityNordVPNProxies can have many different and specific uses, depending on the type you use or is available from providers.

NordVPN offers a Web Proxy, YouTube Proxy, and SOCKS5 proxy for torrenting. It has an edge over PIA which only offers the SOCKS5.


NordVPN vs. PIA: Scoreboard!

Though we have elaborated on who wins each category above, some users may be looking for a more direct approach. As such, we took our time in scoring both NordVPN and PIA in different aspects to give our users a better idea. The process took us a great effort, so we hope it helps users when the decision-making time comes between the two providers.

Categories NordVPN PIA
Servers Availability97
Subscription Pricing69
Privacy and Security98
Features Availability87
China and Netflix109
Apps and Functionality 108
Total Points (70)6155



Private Internet Access vs NordVPN Reddit

I checked Reddit for the comparison between these two services based on actual user reviews. My analysis found NordVPN to be the best reddit vpn. It is preferred by a higher number of users, which is obvious, given that it is a bigger service. PIA does have its followers, but if you look at the comments below, you will notice a favoritism for NordVPN. Of course, selecting a VPN from the two is up to you!

PIA vs NordVPN vs TorGuard from vpnreviews


How to Setup and Configure NordVPN

Step 1: Go to the NordVPN website and click on the “Pricing” tab

Step 2: Select a plan that suits your budgetary requirements

Step 3: Complete the checkout process and download the relevant app

Step 4: You can find native apps for different platforms/devices on VPN Apps

Step 5: Install the app, enter your login credentials, and enjoy using NordVPN!

Step 6: Those located in China can get NordVPN from this address:


How to Setup Private Internet Access (PIA)

Step 1: Head to the PIA website and click on the “Get Started Now” button

Step 2: Subscribe to any premium plan and then download the native app

Step 3: You can find native apps for different platforms/devices on the Download page

Step 4: Enter the login credentials to unlock all features of the application

Step 5: Enjoy using PIA for unblocking/torrenting/streaming!


Other Comparisons to Check Out

    1. ExpressVPN vs. IPVanish
    2. ExpressVPN vs. PureVPN
    3. PureVPN vs. IPVanish
    4. NordVPN vs. ExpressVPN




NordVPN vs. PIA: Who is the Winner?

There is no doubt that both NordVPN and PIA are great names in the marketplace. However, when it comes to determining a winner among the two, things become quite clear. I believe that NordVPN overpowers PIA in a myriad of aspects. Its location is also incredibly strategic, whereas PIA has its base of operations in the US (an unsafe location). From a privacy standpoint, I would advise using NordVPN!

2 Responses to NordVPN vs. PIA (Private Internet Access) – Who Will Takes the Trophy?

  1. Amy Adams

    Giving PIAVPN and PureVPN a go right now and gonna say PureVPN is pretty much good and I love their app also.


      Hi there Amy, thanks for commenting here. We’re quite happy to learn that users are testing services themselves, so that they are completely sure about receiving top privacy. PureVPN has been through its ups and downs, but has considerably improved over the past year, increasing their server ratio, adding new advanced features. PIA, conversely, does manage to do well but for a service that has been in the marketplace for a long time – still falls short in some aspects. Nevertheless, after you complete your analysis. Do give us your opinion here. It’s always good to learn more about user experiences! 🙂

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