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NordVPN vs Private Internet Access , who is the best?

Mitch Avatar By: Mitch | Last updated November 21, 2020

Image of VPN with security icon


In this internet day and age, one of the things that we as a consumer often do before deciding which products to buy is to read reviews and best-of lists. It might not always lead to the right items, but at least it could point us in the right direction. 

The same thing applied to VPNs. If you google "top VPN" lists, more often than not, you will see the same names pops up here and there. This article would look deeper and draws some comparison between two of the most popular VPNs right now, NordVPN and Private Internet Access.  

Hopefully, by the end of this article, you'll be able to decide which one is the right fit for you and who is better between NordVPN and PIA VPN.

About NordVPN and Private Internet Access

NordVPN is a Panama-based VPN that was founded in 2012 by four childhood friends with dreams of an open and safe internet experience. Now, with 14 million users under their belt, they have become one of the leading companies in the VPN industry. 

But this nearly a decade journey was not a smooth sailing for NordVPN. Throughout the years, NordVPN and its parent company, Tefincom & Co., S.A., has faced multiple problems with the biggest one being the security breach in late 2019.  

Nevertheless, the company's transparency and willingness to admit its fault and working hard to fix and prevent such a thing to ever happen again is what makes people believe in their services.  

Private Internet Access is a US-based VPN company that was founded in 2010 by Andrew Lee, a man who was born in Indianapolis who turns out to be the crown prince of South Korea.  

Being a royalty aside, Private Internet Access was built with the same dream and sentiment of NordVPN's founders, which is to create an open and secured internet experience. 

Initially, Private Internet Access (PIA) was operating under Andrew Lee's London Trust Media, Inc. In 2019, however, they decided to merge with Kape Technologies PLC.  

Kape Technologies itself already owned big VPNs like Cyberghost and zenmate. The addition of PIA enabled an even more robust VPNs lineup within the company's cybersecurity division.  

Similarities between NordVPN and Private Internet Access
  • Security and protection. Both NordVPN and Private Internet Access uses military-grade, AES 256 bit encryption method with a killswitch feature. They also have strong DNS leaks protection and a strict zero-logs policy in place, amongst other things.  
  • Price. NordVPN and Private Internet Access are amongst the most affordable VPN in the industry. The best offers within their pricing plans are their yearly plan. With this plan, you'll get a year of NordVPN for $3.79 per month and PIA for $3.33 per month. Both of them also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try their services without having to worry about anything.  
  • Ease-of-use. NordVPN and PIA have a straightforward VPN client and apps interface that makes it easy for first-time users to navigate around the menus and functions. They also have a sleek and modern design aesthetic that makes it pleasant to look at.  
  • Excellent Support. Both VPNs services have comprehensive FAQ sections on their respective website and if you somehow couldn't find the solution to your problems there, then you could always send emails or even call their customer supports.  
  • Malware Protection. This feature is rarely available in other VPNs services but coincidentally, NordVPN and PIA have this feature as default. When this feature turned on, you will greatly enhance the safety of your browsing experience.  
Differences between NordVPN and Private Internet Access
  • Privacy. Although both companies do have a strict zero-logs policy, the fact that NordVPN is based in Panama, a country with strong stands on individual data privacy, makes it much safer for the consumers than PIA who are based in the USA.  
  • Accessibility. Both companies could be accessed through multiple popular platforms, like Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, and several others. But while NordVPN could connect up to five devices at the same time, PIA allowed ten simultaneous connections.   
  • Servers. NordVPN has over 5000 servers in 59 countries, which is quite a lot compares to others in the industry, but PIA has a whopping 15.000+ servers spread across 74 countries. That is a staggering number of servers and definitely one of the highest among other VPNs.  
  • Speed. When it comes to speed, something curious happens. Normally, the more servers you have, the faster you'll connection will be.  That being said, I got a consistently faster speed with NordVPN than with PIA. It might be because of my particular configuration or any other unknown variables, but no matter what I do, NordVPN is blazing ahead of PIA. 
  • Geo-locked streaming contents. A streaming platform like Netflix often has contents specifically shown for a certain region and it is impossible to see it if you're living someplace else. NordVPN could easily bypass this restriction and they even have dedicated servers especially made for this purpose.  
    PIA used to be able to do the same thing easily, however, there seem to be difficulties to access Geo-locked contents as of late. There is no clear explanation as to the reason why but if this feature is important for you then I suggest going with NordVPN for this one. 

Both NordVPN and Private Internet Access are a valid choice for any of your internet activities that required a VPN. There are lots of similarities between them than what I could cover in this short article.  

Even their differences are not a massive deal-breaker, it was still pretty much acceptable or even above average. You could go with either one of them and won't regret your decision.  

But personally, the fact that NordVPN is located in a country that cares about personal data privacy matters a lot to me. USA has a checkered past, to put it mildly, when it comes to privacy. That reason alone makes me feel uncomfortable using PIA's services.  

So if you're like me in that regard, I wholeheartedly suggest NordVPN as a better vpn when compared to PIA.