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NordVPN vs. Private Internet Access (PIA) : Which VPN Comes On Top?

NordVPN and Private Internet Access (PIA) are both excellent VPN services and two of our favorite providers on the market right now. So, if you've read our reviews of Nord VPN and PIA (or some other online reviews), now you may be wondering which service is a better choice.

Indeed, to the untrained eye, these two providers will look very similar. They both have tons of useful features, promise the ultimate online safety and privacy, offer unlimited bandwidth, allow P2P traffic and all that at very affordable prices.

It's easy to get confused if you were in a dilemma about which one of these providers to choose, or if you were considering switching from one to the other.

Now, we're going to take a closer look at both NordVPN and PIA and see which one is actually better and which one offers more value.

Features

Looking at all leading VPN providers right now, NordVPN probably has the most impressive set of features, which is a pretty big deal because the competition is tough. But NordVPN always manages to be one step ahead of all competitors, constantly improving the service, which helps them win easily in this category.

You can expect nothing short of military-grade encryption in the form of IKEv2/IPSec that is completely impenetrable even by the strongest computers in the world, plus the standard OpenVPN used by all the most popular VPNs.

Furthermore, NordVPN offers something called DoubleVPN that you can't see at other providers. As they explain it, "you connect to the first VPN server, which in turn redirects all the traffic to another server, from which the online traffic reaches the final destination."

They also provide a technology called CyberSec that blocks dangerous malware and annoying ads.

Other than that, NordVPN also packs handy features such as a kill switch, DNS leak protection and Onion Over VPN that all ensure your utmost privacy and safety online.

Even though NordVPN really shines when it comes to the features, PIA is not far behind. Private Internet Access has numerous useful features that make up a great VPN.

pia-features

First and foremost, this service ensures your safety and privacy with three powerful encryption protocols – OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPSec, all of which very effective and used by all reputable VPN services.

Some other features you can expect from PIA are SOCKS5 Proxy, a kill switch, and their proprietary Mace technology that will help you avoid ads, malware and trackers.

Privacy

Judging by the encryption protocols they use, both NordVPN and PIA are an excellent choice when it comes to the Internet security and online privacy.

They also both have a zero logs policy, which means that they don't monitor or record your data, and they can't share it with the third parties.

One tiny privacy concern is related to these companies' location. NordVPN is based in Panama, a country which doesn't fall under the 14 eyes countries and doesn't allow data monitoring.

PIA, on the other hand, is based in the US which has much more questionable privacy laws. Technically, PIA would have to deliver the information about their users if legally required, but their zero logs policy pretty much ensures that information is scarce to non-existent.

Internet Freedom

Aside from online safety, Internet freedom is one of the most important things we're looking for when getting a VPN. Although both NordVPN and PIA have a great number of servers, we noted that NordVPN surpasses its competitor in this category as well.

NordVPN has over 4300 servers across 62 countries and the number keeps growing daily. What's awesome about Nord is that you can enjoy any content you want from wherever you are. They allow unlimited bandwidth and P2P traffic, which means you can download and share files, stream your favorite shows and play your favorite games online.

NordVPN has a very fast connection to Netflix, which is very important now that fewer and fewer VPNs can access this popular streaming platform. And, you can use this VPN even in China, one of the countries with most Internet restrictions.

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PIA lacks in this area. Even though you'll get access to over 3300 servers in 30 countries, you won't be able to enjoy complete Internet freedom.

Yes, you will get unlimited bandwidth and P2P traffic with this provider so you can stream and download content. But, you can forget about using Netflix, Hulu and BBC iPlayer.

This VPN also has an inconsistent performance in restricted countries like China, where your Internet access will depend on the area where you're located.

Performance

Performance is where NordVPN and PIA come shoulder to shoulder. They both offer great speeds but are sometimes inconsistent depending on the server.

With a great choice of servers available at any time, you will always be able to find one that offers satisfactory performance with both providers. As with any other VPN service, the speed will depend on the location of the server, but these two will help you connect to the server that delivers optimal performance.

User Friendliness

NordVPN and Private Internet Access pass the user-friendliness test without much trouble. Both can be used on various devices and both are easy to use whether you're a beginner or an experienced user, with handy basic features and advanced settings all in one place.

When it comes to the customer support, we'll have to vote in favor of NordVPN again. Nord has several support channels including the live chat, while PIA has the ticket support system where you'll have to wait for an answer even up to several hours.

Pricing

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The reason why we love NordVPN and PIA is because they offer so much at extremely affordable prices. In fact, these two leading VPN providers have some of the best prices on the market.

If you opt for NordVPN, we recommend you avoid their pricey monthly plan at $11.95 and go straight for the long-term plans. Their best deal is the 3-year plan that comes at $2.75 a month. On top of that, Nord offers a 30-day money back guarantee so you can easily opt out if you're not happy with the service.

Private Internet Access has one of the cheapest monthly plans out there at just $6.95. Still, you will get a much bigger bang for your buck if you choose their 2-year plan at $2.91 per month. PIA also has a money-back guarantee but it's only 7 days.

Our Verdict

NordVPN: 9.8/10
PIA VPN: 8.5/10

NordVPN and Private Internet Access have both been users' favorites for years, and it's not without good reason. Both of these services provide incredible encryption methods that ensure absolute safety and privacy for their users, and they top it off with many other useful features, great numbers of servers, user-friendly interface and excellent price.

Still, we have to rule in favor of NordVPN as it is one step ahead of its competitor in almost every category we observed. It's reliable, versatile, compatible with Netflix and available even in China, and it offers exceptional value at an unbelievably low price. A clear winner in our book.