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PIA VPN vs NordVPN comparison

Hailey Avatar By: Hailey | Last updated January 12, 2021

Data in a VPN


Browsing the internet can make you exposed to third parties who may want to track your activities as to sell your personalized data to advertisers. Aside from this, there are also those with the intention of stealing your identity. This just proves that finding privacy while online is very hard nowadays. Because of this, Virtual Private Networks or VPNs were made. These are services which you can use for the gadget you use for online browsing including PC, Mac, Linux, iPhones, and Androids. This hides your IP address from anyone who may want to track it.  In this head to head debate we see who wins in the Pia VPN vs Nord VPN debate once and for all.


PIA VPN or Private Internet Access is a VPN is a popular choice for most users. It is based in the USA. The service was released back in 2010 as founded by Andrew Lee. Their technology enables the use of various security protocols such as PPTP, SOCKS5, LT2P/IPsec, and more. They are known for their affordable pricing plans, reliable security technologies, and their user-friendly interface. PIA VPN is among the most recommended ones in the VPN market which can be seen with its high user reviews and good product quality. In 2019, they were acquired by Kape Technologies. 


NordVPN is another popular VPN. They are currently based in Panama which is known for its lenient legislations regarding data gathering from its companies. The service was released back in 2012 and developed by Tefincom & Co. The service is known for being a premium VPN, offering pricing plans that are more expensive than its competitors that makes up for it with amazing speeds, features, and security provided. The VPN is among the few which can be used to access content inside China which goes to show how advanced their technology is compared to others.  

Testing the two 

We will differentiate the two based on different factors that are based on the most important aspects of a VPN. We will review their speed, security, features, and logging policies as to see which one will is better in general.  Within our test we look at the biggest features that matter to users and find out which vpn is best for you between Pia VPN and NordVPN


Whenever using a VPN, users must expect their speeds to be reduced. This is because the service needs to encrypt the information they upload online and also must sent their data first to the server which they connect to. The decrease in speed is especially higher if you connect to a server that is further away from your true location. For those who are planning to access streaming content not available in their countries, the speed of the VPN is very important for them to be able to have less buffering and loading times. This is also applicable for those who are planning to play online games and download content. 


To test PIA’s speeds, we first used its automatic connection feature which looks for the closest server to you as to give the best speeds. Once connected, we experienced a decrease of up to a half of our original speed which is quite disappointing. Usually, speeds like this will only happen if we connect to a server further from us.  

As expected, our speeds only got worse as we connected to servers further from us. Being based in the United States, we experienced moderate speeds in European servers with a decrease of 60% of our speeds. Once we reached Asian countries, our speeds were decreased by up to 80% which makes it harder to download content. 


One of the most advertised aspects of NordVPN is the speed of the internet they provide. Upon testing, we were not disappointed with the product. First, we tested the VPN using our local server which is the closest to our actual location. We only experienced a decrease of up to 1/5 of our original speed. This is very impressive and makes the VPN a must-buy for those who only want to have anonymity but is not picky with the server that they will be using. 

As expected, the decrease in the speed increased as we went to the furthest servers. However, the worst that we experienced was only up to 60% which is still capable of streaming content, downloading movies, and playing online games. 

Winner: The clear winner in terms of speed is NordVPN 


The security of the VPN is the most important aspect of it. To test if it is able to protect our computer, we used a DNS leak test. This tests if the VPN is able to hide our IP addresses from the websites that we visit. We also look at the security protocols used by the VPN. 


Upon testing, PIA VPN was able to pass our test for DNS leaks. It was able to provide IPv6 leak protection. This proves that it is capable of hiding the IP address of the user while online. 

The server uses AES-128 bit encryption by default but users can choose to use the AES 256-bit encryption which is considered superior. The service uses the OpenVPN protocol along with IPsec, PPTP, and more. These are all open-sourced so that users can freely see its coding and contribute to adding more security for it. 

The application also has a kill-switch feature which automatically disconnects your gadget from the internet in case it fails to activate its security protocol. 


Upon testing, NordVPN was also able to pass all of our tests. It also has the same encryption and security tools as PIA VPN. This is expected as most of these security protocols are already industry-standards which means that many other VPNs uses the same technologies. 

WINNER: TIE as both provides the same amount of security 

Logging policy

The logging policy of the VPNs pertains to their rules regarding obtaining information about their users. The best ones do not take any of the personal information of the user and does not track any of their activities as this will be counterintuitive with the purpose of their application. 


PIA VPN is based in USA which might make some suspicious as the country is involved in the Five Eyes Alliance of countries that require its companies to upload data about their users upon request. The good news is that the VPN, as tested back in 2015 and 2017, did not have anything to provide for court documents when requested which shows that they stay true to their promise. 


The VPN is based in Panama which is not included in any of the countries that need to keep track of their companies’ data. This means that users of the VPN are given absolute anonymity.  

And the winner is....

As we can see, the better VPN is NordVPN in terms of speed. This is because having good speeds that are enough for downloading, streaming, and online gaming is important for users to be able to access the internet like usual. However, PIA VPN offers more affordable pricing plans. If pricing is a big factor for you but you are not particularly bothered with speed, it is more recommended.  So overall the best product is Nord, but the best price is PIA VPN. So you sacrifice some speed and features for a cheaper product, so at the end of the day you have to determine what is best for you; your security or your wallet.