NordVPN vs PIA (2020 Review)- Which is a better VPN?

This post is a Head to Head comparison of two great names in the VPN industry NordVPN vs PIA (Private Internet Access).

Millions of people worldwide continue to see the need to buy and use a VPN
Hence the need for competent VPN capable of providing users with quality security, encryption, and Privacy as users need a secure method to make communication and file sharing between staff possible and prevents the risk of unauthorized users stealing sensitive information.

There are a lot of VPN today; however, PIA and NordVPN stands out as one of the best rated.

My goal today is to provide a quick comparative analysis of both VPN and in the end, you will find out which one is best for you.

Post overview

I’ll rank both providers in each category, naming one of them the “winner” for that service category.

At the end of the article I’ll tally up the points for both providers, and the score will determine an overall victor.

By then, you should have enough information on hand to decide whether either VPN is a good fit for your needs.
To help you decide which is the best fit,

I put both VPNs through extensive testing and analysis for this NordVPN vs PIA comparison report.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Click on any one to take you directly to the content.

  1. NordVPN Overview
  2. PIA Overview
  3. Compared Features- NordVPN vs PIA
  4. My verdict– Which VPN offers the best value for your money
  5. Conclusion.

1. NordVPN Overview

Nord vs PIA

NordVPN was born in 2012 when four childhood friends came together to build technology that could liberate the internet.

Spending a lot of time in different parts of the world they saw Internet censorship, content control and intrusive government surveillance growing faster than ever before.

The feeling that the internet was losing its main purpose led to a search for possible solutions on how to overcome all the restrictions.

After setting up the first VPN server and sharing the prototype among their friends, the creators started receiving extremely positive feedback and were encouraged to continue their work.

That’s how NordVPN was born, now serving more than 12 million people worldwide

Visit NordVPN

2. Private Internet Access Overview

Nord vs PIA

Private Internet Access (usually abbreviated as PIA) is one of the larger VPN providers on the VPN market at this moment. One of their best features is its focus on privacy.

They have a strict no-log policy, making PIA especially popular amongst (bit) torrent users.

Additionally, Private Internet Access is known for its minimalistic and compact apps and programs. Some consumers think this is a plus, while others might consider it a letdown.

PIA was recently bought by Kape Technologies. This company also acquired the VPN providers CyberGhost and Zenmate in the last couple of years.

Visit PIA

3. Compared Features- NordVPN vs PIA

NordVPN vs PIA Speed

Nord vs PIA

Connection quality can either make or break a VPN. You want a high-speed VPN to offset the slowdown caused by encryption.

But it’s not just about big numbers. Even more important is consistency – ideally, your VPN should be fast and stable at the same time.

To find if NordVPN and PIA fit the criteria, we tested 10 of their server locations around the world. Our tests were conducted from Eastern Europe – here are the benchmark speeds (VPN off):

NordVPN vs PIA

Below, you can see how NordVPN and PIA performed in each of our 10 tests.

NordVPN vs PIA

NordVPN and PIA are exceptionally fast in Europe and don’t disappoint even when connecting to servers overseas.
The only exception is PIA’s Australia server, where the 90% decrease in download and upload resulted in some annoying lag and buffering issues.

NordVPN delivers much better speeds in this location, even though our tests were made from the other side of the globe.

NordVPN takes a convincing lead on US servers as well. Great news for those who are looking to watch US Netflix or American TV on the highest possible video settings.

As for consistency, we didn’t experience any speed drops or disconnections during our tests. That said, we avoided crowded servers to prevent this exact scenario from happening – a task achieved more easily with NordVPN, thanks to its excellent server variety.

Keep in mind that your download speeds will differ from my test results, depending on the usual speeds that your Internet Service Provider delivers

Winner for Speed: NordVPN

NordVPN vs PIA Logging Policies.

NordVPN operates out of Panama – a country far away from data retention laws and 5/9/14-Eyes surveillance.

It’s common for VPN services to register their business in safe havens such as Panama because this allows them to work under a strict no-logging policy – as NordVPN does.

PIA is another champion for privacy with a clean record. This may come as a surprise, given that it’s a US-based VPN provider (and as such, within easy reach of government surveillance).

Normally, it would raise some eyebrows – but PIA hasn’t given us any reason to doubt them, unlike some other US-based VPN services.

In fact, PIA has already proven it doesn’t keep any sensitive user data on two separate occasions, in 2016 and 2018. Both of them were related to FBI investigations, and both times PIA managed to defend its zero-logs claim. In other words, the “private” in Private Internet Access isn’t just a marketing gimmick.

Logging Policy winner –Tie

Servers and Network.

When talking VPNs, bigger networks give you a better chance of avoiding overcrowded servers. This almost always leads to better speeds and stability, as well as more reliable access to your favorite content online.

NordVPN is one of the best when it comes to server parks.

NordVPN vs PIA

The 5,100+ number is massive and covers several specialty types in addition to standard VPN servers.

You also get P2P, double encryption, Onion-over-VPN, and extra obfuscation. If you need a dedicated IP, you can also get this optional NordVPN extra, which unlocks 70 additional servers.

Compared to that, PIA offers “only” 3,300+ servers in 32 countries.

NordVPN vs PIA

These numbers would be impressive in any other comparison, but not in this one. NordVPN also spreads its servers in almost twice as many countries. With a much stronger presence in Southeast Asia, South America, and the Middle East, this VPN has the advantage in location variety.

Winner for Servers and Network: NordVPN

NordVPN vs PIA Simultaneous Connections

Any VPN provider worth its money will provide the ability for its customers to have multiple devices connected to its service at the same time.

The availability of simultaneous connections allows families and small businesses to get more bang for their buck.

Private Internet Access allows up to 10 simultaneous connections per account. This makes it an excellent choice for users with large families, small businesses, or two bowling teams that need to keep their members’ internet connections protected.

NordVPN allows up to 6 concurrent connections, which is still reasonable, though not as impressive as PIA’s count.

Simultaneous Connections Winner: Private Internet Access

Multi-Platform Support

Considering how many internet-connected devices we own nowadays, comprehensive multi-platform support is a must when making a VPN subscription decision.

NordVPN app support includes Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux, Android and Android TV. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions are available. They also support a good number of wireless routers.

Private Internet Access offers native app support for the Windows, macOS, iOS, Android and Linux device platforms. In addition, Chrome, Firefox and Opera browser extensions are available to protect your web browsing sessions. Setup instructions for DD-WRT and Tomato-enabled routers offer protection for all of your connected devices.

For those who want to take the easiest route to protecting all of their connected devices, both NordVPN and Private Internet Access offer ready-to-go routers through FlashRouters.com.

Multi-Platform Support Winner: Tie

NordVPN vs PIA Security and Encryption

NordVPN offers AES-256 protection through the OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPSec protocols, providing excellent connection protection to its users. The provider also offers kill switch protection, malicious-website blocking, DNS leak protection and Onion Over VPN.

NordVPN vs PIA (2020 Review)- Which is a better VPN? 1

Private Internet Access also uses AES-256 with OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPSec to protect its connections, providing equivalent protection to its customers. In addition, the service offers DNS and IPv6 leak protection, kill switch protection and the ability to block ads, trackers and malware.

NordVPN vs PIA (2020 Review)- Which is a better VPN? 3

Winner : Tie

NordVPN vs PIA Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction is a key consideration that affects the safety of your data. As we’ve seen with cases in the United States, government agencies can force VPNs and email services operating there to collect user data.

This has happened before with Lavabit and probably many more examples we’ll never learn about.

In terms of jurisdiction, NordVPN is blessed with a privacy-friendly base of operations in Panama, a country that doesn’t require VPN providers to keep logs connected to their customers’ online activities. As such, NordVPN follows a total “no logs” policy. They also accept Bitcoin in return for their services.

While Private Internet Access is located in the increasingly privacy-unfriendly confines of the United States, the company doesn’t keep any logs related to their users’ online travels. PIA accepts both Bitcoin and merchant gift cards, so your payment information is kept well undercover.

If you are concerned about the jurisdiction your VPN service falls under, NordVPN would be the better choice in this case (see also the article for more info).

Winner: NordVPN

Netflix & Streaming

On the surface, both VPNs look promising for streaming your favorite content. NordVPN has the edge with its massive server network, but PIA isn’t far behind with a respectable roster of its own.

Things are different once you run some tests, however. NordVPN proves the better pick for Netflix fans – it works effortlessly with catalogs in the US, UK, Canada, France, Japan, and Brazil.
Meanwhile, PIA struggled with many regional Netflix versions. While we were able to watch the US, UK, Canadian, and Australian versions, access was far from reliable. We also had issues with other popular streams.

PIA couldn’t help us with Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Prime Video.

NordVPN accessed content on the platforms above without a hassle. Between the great choice of servers and the proprietary SmartPlay DNS feature, this provider is well-equipped for consistent streaming.

Winner for Streaming: NordVPN

NordVPN vs PIA price comparison

Both NordVPN and PIA are cheap VPN services with affordable prices.
Private Internet Access is one of the lowest-priced VPN providers that I have ever reviewed.

PIA offers two pricing tiers:

  • $11.95 per month,
  • $35.94 in six month

Meanwhile, NordVPN also offers budget pricing, but their monthly price only drops to PIA territory if you opt for a 2-year or 3-year commitment.

NordVPN offers four pricing tiers:

  • $11.95 per month,
  • $83.88 annually,
  • $119.76 every two years, or
  • $125.64 every three years.

We don’t list exact pricing in our articles, as many VPN providers are almost always adjusting their pricing and offering “special one-time only” deals.

So, visit the website of any provider that you’re interested in to view their current pricing.

Visit NordVPN. Or Private Internet Access

For refunds, PIA only offers a 7-day money-back guarantee. However, if you go for NordVPN, you can leverage a 30-day refund guarantee.

Bottom line: Both NordVPN and PIA are affordable

4. My verdict– Which VPN offers the best value for your money?

Value is a subjective determination that’s hard to measure. Essentially, the question is: Which VPN service offers the best value for your money?

I would argue that NordVPN is a better value. While NordVPN is about the same price as PIA, it offers significantly more features

  • Advanced privacy and security features (Double-VPN servers and Tor-over-VPN servers)
  • Much larger server network than PIA
  • Two types of kill switches
  • Good VPN apps for all major devices and operating systems
  • 24/7 live chat support (PIA only offers email support)
  • The support category is definitely noteworthy. PIA does not offer any live chat support and their email support has been pretty slow in previous reviews. With NordVPN, you get 24/7 live chat support directly through their website.

Another big factor that differentiates these two companies is jurisdiction. Being based in the United States (five eyes) is a major drawback for PIA.

If US authorities were to force PIA to log or disclose customer data (such as the case with Lavabit), PIA would not be able to disclose this information to their customers due to gag orders.

PIA also does not provide a warrant canary, which would alert PIA customers to potential breaches of data and/or government interference in the business.

Value winner: NordVPN

5. Conclusion

Now we answer the question NordVPN vs PIA- Which is better

Both Private Internet Access and NordVPN are good VPN providers, but NordVPN is the clear winner in this NordVPN vs PIA comparison.

Here’s an overview of the categories we looked at and the winner:

  • Speed – NordVPN
  • Logging policies – Tie
  • Servers and Network – NordVPN
  • Simultaneous Connections – PIA
  • Multiplatform Support – Tie
  • Security and Encryption – Tie
  • Jurisdiction – NordVPN
  • Netflix & Streaming – NordVPN
  • Price – Tie
  • Value – NordVPN

Subscribe on any of them today, to enjoy Privacy.

(Click here to purchase PIA – Click here to purchase NordVPN)

This brings us to the end. I hope this review was comprehensive enough.

Now Tell me….

Which of this VPN do you find suitable according to your personal attraction?

Have you tried using any or both of them before now?

What challenges do you constantly face?

Well, do leave your replies or any questions you might have in the comments section.

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Thank you.

Maryjane Ibeabuchi
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