NordVPN vs PIA (Private Internet Access): 2018 Features and Comparison

Sebastian Petrosi| 10 October 2018

Both, NordVPN and PIA, have tons of happy users and many of these satisfied users love to voice their experiences on the web. This is the main reason why we see a lot of praises and positive reviews of these two services. We have reviewed both of these services individually, but in order to know the differences and help you choose between these two people’s favorite services, we are going to compare the two in our NordVPN vs PIA showdown.

We do not wish to determine which is superior in our comparison. Our aim simply is to disclose the facts about these two services in a comparative way. We are going to test them in terms of speed, performance, logging policy, apps, servers, locations, price, privacy, security, features and more. This will help users to know more about which offers what, so they can make a better choice for their purpose and use, if these two are their last two choices left.

The comparison is divided into Performance and Speed, Streaming and Unblocking, P2P and Torrenting, Price and Features, Apps and Functionality, Security and Protocols, Privacy and Logging Policy and Servers and Locations. The final verdict will be on the basis of all these important factors. So, let’s get things started in NordVPN vs Private Internet Access.

NordVPN vs PIA – Performance and Speed

The first round would be about the performance and the speed of the services. In the following table, the results of our tests are mentioned.

VPNNo VPNUSUK
NordVPNUpload: 9.43 MbpsUpload: 7.67 MbpsUpload: 5.53 Mbps
Download: 58.84 MbpsDownload: 49.49 MbpsDownload: 32.24 Mbps
Ping: 16 msPing: 64 msPing: 197 ms
PIAUpload: 9.64 MbpsUpload: 6.80 MbpsUpload: 4.68 Mbps
Download: 58.92 MbpsDownload: 48.08 MbpsDownload: 25.67 Mbps
Ping: 17 msPing: 70 msPing: 221 ms

The table shows that NordVPN offered comparatively better speed, both in the UK and US. The difference is not too significant, but still the tests shows that NordVPN is better at speed and performance than PIA. The speed of PIA is impressive as well, as it is way better than the industry average.

The connection reliability of both services is commendable and we utilized OpenVPN for all the tests. The disconnection issues are not there in both the services. So the scores of the first round in NordVPN vs PIA are:

NordVPN: 9
PIA: 8

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.

PIANordVPN
Highest Price
$6.95/Mo$11.95/Mo
Lowest Price
$2.91/Mo$3.29/Mo
1-Year Price
$39.95$69.00
Money-Back Guarantee
7 days30 days

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

PIANordVPN
Simultaneous Connections
56
Apps
Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, LinuxWindows, macOS, iOS, Android
Manual Setup
Routers, and set-top boxesLinux, routers, and set-top boxes
Extras
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

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.

ServersCountries
PIA314533
NordVPN462462

Our scores for this rounds would be with NordVPN.

NordVPN: 9
PIA: 7

Final Words

The overall scores of our NordVPN vs PIA in numbers.

CategoriesNordVPNPIA
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 PIA, however, PIA has more affordable plans than NordVPN.