Private Internet Access vs NordVPN 2020: Features and Comparison

last updated: 17 December 2019 written by: Sebastian Petrosi

NordVPN and Private Internet Access are both big names in the VPN industry and considered some of the best VPN service providers around. They’re full-service providers that can benefit any Internet user. We’ll be going over the various features of both of these providers to see how they stack up. By comparing how each provider performs and learning more about each company’s strengths and weaknesses, you’ll be able to choose the option that serves you best.

About NordVPN

Despite its massive success and large network, NordVPN is a relatively new company. It was established back in 2012 as a response to Internet censorship and government surveillance programs that were making headlines in many countries around the world. The company is pretty transparent about their policies and dedication to privacy. Their manifesto states that their goal is to make the Internet as open to users as possible. They’re headquartered in Panama but have servers located all over the globe.

About Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access, commonly referred to as PIA, is based out of Denver, Colorado. Like NordVPN, PIA is focused on increasing your privacy while also keeping your data connection secure. Throughout the years, the company has adopted many forms of technology to keep users protected regardless of how they choose to connect. The provider was established in 2010 and is owned by the parent company London Trust Media.

Subscription Costs and Payment

Cost is a big factor to consider when you’re choosing a VPN service. While you certainly can’t put a price on privacy, using a VPN requires you to incur an additional ongoing cost on top of the normal bills from your ISP. Your monthly costs to use the Internet can add up quickly. Both NordVPN and Private Access Internet operate under a paid subscription model.

NordVPN offers four different subscription options. You can choose to pay for the service on a monthly basis for a price of $11.95 per month. However, you can take advantage of significant savings if you choose to commit to a longer service plan. These plans require you to pay for more up front, though they have the added benefit of not having to remember to make recurring payments each month. The most cost-effective option from NordVPN is the 3-year plan. It cost $107.55 every 3 years, which amounts to $2.99 per month.

NordVPN Pricing

1 month plan: $11.95 per month
Year plan: $83.88 per year, $6.99 per month
2-year plan: $95.75 every 2 years, $3.99 per month
3-year plan: $107.55 every 3 years, $2.99 per month

PIA Pricing

With PIA VPN, the monthly subscription fee is a bit cheaper at only $9.95 per month. The PIA offers multi-year plans as well. However, their longest subscription plan is 2 years rather than 3. With the 2-year plan, you will pay $83.87 every 2 years. This equates to $3.49 per year, which is 65 percent savings over the monthly plan.

1 month plan: $9.95 per month
Year plan: $71.88 per year, $5.99 per month
2-year plan: $83.87 every 2 years, $3.49 per month

Streaming and Unblocking

The use of VPNs for unblocking various sites and services and to access any streaming sites with smooth streaming has been drastically increased. In order to assess the service, it has become exceptionally important to analyze the unblocking powers and streaming experience of the VPN services.

We tested both services to analyze which one, NordVPN or PIA, is better at unblocking sites. For this, we tested both services to access Netflix, as it is the most in demand and difficult website/service to unblock using a VPN.

Firstly, we connected NordVPN and tried to access Netflix USA. The connection of the US server of NordVPN was very stable and we did not find any leaks. When we accessed Netflix, we were easily able to access the full US library of Netflix using NordVPN.

On the other hand, when we tested Private Internet Access to unblock US Netflix, PIA was not able to do that. There are many us only sites which we were able to access with PIA, but US Netflix was not one of these sites.

So, the results or scores for unblocking sites and streaming are:

NordVPN: 9
PIA: 7

NordVPN vs PIA – P2P and Torrenting

Torrenting with a VPN has become a necessity of a time, as most of the world considers it to be illegal and the remaining keep an eye on the activities to find any P2P related activity so ISPs can throttle speed. Anyhow, using VPNs for torrenting is very popular, so we tested NordVPN and PIA for torrenting purposes as well.

Both, NordVPN and PIA, supports P2P file sharing and torrenting. However, NordVPN allows torrenting on limited servers. On the other hand, PIA allows torrenting on all servers. If we compare the total number of servers on NordVPN where torrenting is allowed, it becomes more than the total number of servers that PIA has.

So, in this matter, we think it is a tie. NordVPN allows torrenting on limited servers but these limited servers are enough to handle the needs of torrenting users. On the other hand, PIA allows torrenting on all of its servers, but the total number of servers are still less than NordVPN.

The scores we give to each of them are:

NordVPN: 8
PIA: 8

Price and Features

The prices and features are extremely important and to make it easier to understand, the following comparative tables are made.

Highest Price
Lowest Price
1-Year Price
Money-Back Guarantee
7 days30 days

In addition to this, the main features in NordVPN vs Private Internet Access can be compared like.

Simultaneous Connections
Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, LinuxWindows, macOS, iOS, Android
Manual Setup
Routers, and set-top boxesLinux, routers, and set-top boxes
Free Browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and OperaFree Browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. Malware blocker

When it comes to the price, then PIA is certainly hard to beat in the market. It is one of the cheapest VPN services in the industry. On the other hand, NordVPN is quite affordable too, but in comparison with PIA, NordVPN is expensive. In terms of features, NordVPN is way better than PIA, which makes the price more understandable. Our scores in this round are:

NordVPN: 8
PIA: 8

Get NordVPN

Apps and Functionality

Be it NordVPN or PIA, both are reputable services and both offers standalone apps for all the major devices and platforms including iOS, Mac OSX, Android, and Windows.When we compare the apps, the UI and features integrations in both apps are incredible. PIA might seem a little old school, but in terms of functionality it is as good as NordVPN. However, NordVPN certainly has more features than PIA.

So, in this round up, our scores would be:

NordVPN: 10
PIA: 8

NordVPN vs PIA – Security and Protocols

When it comes to encryption, both of these services offer AES encryption with a 256-bit key which is commonly known as the military grade encryption. It has become the industry average to offer this encryption and be it Private Internet Access or NordVPN, this level of encryption is a must.

Also, both the services offer multiple major protocols and both include OpenVPN, which is the most reliable protocol, in their services. NordVPN offers PPTP, L2TP, IKEv2, and OpenVPN. PIA offers PPTP, L2TP and OpenVPN. Additionally, NordVPN offers some extra security features like Double VPN etc. which are missing in PIA. So considering all these elements, our scores would be:

NordVPN: 9
PIA: 8

Privacy and Logging Policy

In terms of Privacy, NordVPN is highly regarded because it is headquartered in Panama and it is known to keep no logs at all. On the other hand, PIA is also a strict no logs VPN service and it has proved to keep no logs in real court cases. However, PIA still is often considered as suspicious just because it is based in the United States of America.

Both the services keep minimal user information and offers anonymous payment methods, to help users get maximum privacy. But, just because PIA is based in the heart of the Five Eyes countries, NordVPN is more preferred by the privacy concerned users. Our scores in this matter would be:

NordVPN: 9
PIA: 8

Servers and Locations

In the comparison of NordVPN vs PIA, we know that NordVPN is known to have a large network of powerful servers which are placed in all the major countries of the world. On the other hand, PIA also has a decent network of servers, but it only covers half the number of countries that NordVPN covers. Here’re the numbers for you.


Our scores for this rounds would be with NordVPN.

NordVPN: 9
PIA: 7

Get NordVPN

Other VPN Comparison

NordVPN vs ExpressVPN

NordVPN vs IPVanish

ExpressVPN vs IPVanish

NordVPN vs PureVPN


Final Words

The overall scores of our NordVPN vs PIA in numbers.

Performance and Speed98
Streaming and Unblocking97
P2P and Torrenting88
Price and Features88
Apps and Functionality108
Security and Protocols98
Privacy and Logging Policy98
Servers and Locations97
Total (80)7162

It shows that NordVPN offers a better service as compared to Private Internet Access, however, PIA has more affordable plans than NordVPN.