ExpressVPN vs PIA (Private Internet Access) – 2019 Comparison

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Updated: August 4th, 2019

ExpressVPN vs PIA

This article defines the outright better VPN service between PIA vs ExpressVPN across the six most important and highly-prioritised factors that anyone considering either VPN provider should consider before choosing one or the other.

Both ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access are very popular services that have solidified great reputations over the years as the awareness of online privacy protection and VPN software has become more and more prevalent in our surveillance-heavy online world. 

Comparing these two impressive VPN providers across such factors is a great way to really understand the differences between each service. So let's find out which service is the better one: ExpressVPN or Private Internet Access!

NOTE: The percentages for each VPN across the factors are calculated against every VPN service provider we have reviewed here at So 100% means that service is one of -- if not the -- best performer in that area.

Quick Comparison

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Speed & Performance


Security & Privacy


Device Compatibility


Server Locations


Customer Support



Comparison Breakdown

So now that the quick breakdown of ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access has been laid out -- it is important to understand how we have come to the stats that we have for each of the six factors against both VPN providers.

Therefore, below is exactly that. An efficient analyses of how each VPN provider received the stat grade it did in this comparison. As you will see, the differences between these two are close in some factors; broad in others. Let's get into it:


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1 month = $12.95
6 months = $59.94
12 months = $99.84

ExpressVPN prices its plans in the high-end range when compared against all other top-end VPN providers. For this comparison the price difference is stark, almost double Private Internet Access.

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1 month = $6.95
6 months = $35.95
12 months = $39.95

Private internet Access charge very affordable pricing plans for their VPN service. When compared to ExpressVPN, users will save close to 50% with Private Internet Access. 


When it comes to pricing between these two goliath services in the VPN industry, Private Internet Access definitely has the advantage. At less than half the price of ExpressVPN, if budget is one of your biggest deciding factors between these two then PIA may be worth going with on this alone. 
With that said, the price point difference certainly reflects the level of service quality difference you get between these two accurately. So keep that in mind. 

ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access : BEST PRICE?

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When it comes to internet speeds on ExpressVPN connections, you are hard-pushed to find another VPN service to match. Speeds are consistently great across 99% of servers with this VPN.

To insure a thorough test was conducted, I went ahead and installed the ExpressVPN software onto my Mac and proceeded to do a quick speed test. This was done first without the VPN and then after connecting to it:

Without VPN:

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With VPN:

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Overall ExpressVPN Speed Score:

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For the price that you pay, Private Internet Access provide internet speeds are very fair, however the drop when connected is more than you experience with ExpressVPN.

As was done with ExpressVPN above, I ran the speed test for PIA on the exact same device in the same location to check the difference. Although the speed of my internet had changed at the time of this test, the difference between the non-VPN connection to VPN connection is evident: 

Without VPN:

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With VPN:

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Overall ExpressVPN Speed Score:



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The levels of encryption used on the ExpressVPN service are that of 'military grade', which is what you want to expect from a provider that charges prices in the high-end spectrum. This coupled with the VPN's zero-logging make it a fantastic privacy and security protector.

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Users are given the same encryption standards on Private Internet Access as with ExpressVPN. Both utilise 256-bit encryption on OpenVPN as standard, with more protocol options available. However, Private Internet Access falls short by having to adhere to US laws.


If you're choosing between these two VPNs, then you are certainly interested in the level of privacy protection your online data and activity will receive when connected to either. So hopefully the above synopsis gives you a concise look at how between Private Internet Access vs ExpressVPN, Express outshines in this department.
The actual consistency with which you remain connected to ExpressVPN servers over PIA's also plays a part in the higher grading we give the former over the latter. Since the moment your connection drops; your entire connection's privacy is compromised. 

Private Internet Access vs ExpressVPN : BEST SECURITY & PRIVACY?

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Any device you would ever want to have a VPN setup and connected through is compatible with the ExpressVPN software. From your smartphone to your laptop, games console to your home router -- ExpressVPN works.

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Even outcome on this factor between ExpressVPN and Private Internet Access. PIA also gives users a comprehensive level of device compatibility across all major devices, including very handy and well laid out setup guides to help.


When you grab one of these VPNs, you want to make sure that the actual device (or multiple devices) you intend to use it on will actually be able to use the software. Thankfully, it is very difficult to find a VPN service provider that does not deliver an application that is not compatible with practically any device you would ever want to have a VPN setup onto. Thus, in this section, both these VPNs deliver on the same level. No winner in this factor. 




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Users of ExpressVPN are offered a very large library of server locations all over the world, allowing unblocking of many nationally-restricted online content. Although Private Internet Access offers hundreds of servers, they are located in less than half the amount of countries in comparison.

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A very respectable amount of server locations is offered to users that choose Private Internet Access. This is an area of the service where you are definitely "getting what you pay for", with the almost double-priced ExpressVPN offering more than double the locations of servers.


If you want to be using your VPN as a means to unblock specifically restricted/inaccessible websites and online service around the world, then you will want to make sure your VPN service offers as large a server location library as possible. Why? Because, for example, if you're looking to access Hulu Plus, but you live in Canada (where it is blocked from accessing therein), then you will want your VPN to provide at least one server location within the US, that you can connect to and successfully change your IP address to "appear" within that server location - thus giving you access to the service.
So with that in mind, ExpressVPN definitely win this round, having more than double the global server locations than PIA offer. 

ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access : MOST SERVER LOCATIONS?

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Very close race on this area, with ExpressVPN offering all levels of support from email to social to ticketing, and most importantly a live chat option right on the website that has a very quick response time.

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Private Internet Access provide a fantastic level of customer support, especially considering how much less you pay for this VPN service in comparison to ExpressVPN. Live chat is also offered, but with a longer wait time.


You shouldn't experience any significant issues with either of these great VPN providers, however should you run into any problems, you want to be rest-assured that the customer support offered by the VPN will be fast, friendly and effective - no matter what time of day, or day of the week, you need them to be there for you.
So the edge that ExpressVPN get over PIA in this area is with the "fast" factor. You can be essentially guaranteed that a support person is manning the live chat on their website, ready to help you out. PIA takes a little more time to respond, but it's still great that they offer live chat at all.

ExpressVPN vs Private Internet Access : BEST CUSTOMER SUPPORT?

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Additional Features

Of all the VPN services available that deliver a professional service (both of the VPNs in question her included) you can expect at least some great additional features to both enhance the privacy protection and geo-unblocking capabilities therein, as well as improving the user experience of the physical software. 

So to that end, it is worth quickly running through at least some of the major features that each ExpressVPN and PIA offer as part of their VPN:

- Both VPNs have integrated a 'kill switch' feature, that when enabled will cut your internet connection if your VPN connection should drop off. This makes sure that you don't continue with your internet activity without realising that the VPN connection has dropped -- and thus may be compromising your privacy and unblocking abilities. 

- PIA offers IPv6 leak protection. ExpressVPN offers DNS leak protection. Both of these provide a great extra layer of protection to your online data privacy. 

- ExpressVPN give you a built-in speed tester in the software that lets you accurately test the speed of your internet connection once on the VPN server. 

- This is not really a specific 'feature', however it is worth mentioning just how much more a pleasure and easy to use ExpressVPN's software is. Regardless of whether you're using it on desktop, laptop or a mobile device, it's clear that this provider have invested heavily into making the user-experience of their app as top quality as possible. PIA fall short in this important area by not making any real improvement to their software in the years I have been familiar with it. 


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In ExpressVPN vs PIA -- ExpressVPN proves to be the better service. Yes, ExpressVPN succeeds in out-performing Private Internet Access over four of the six most important factors taken into consideration for this comparison.


ExpressVPN is the superior VPN service provider when compared against Private Internet Access. Each VPN provider performed well across all six analysed factors, but in the end ExpressVPN offers a more well-rounded service across the board. 

With that said, very high praise must be given to Private Internet Access for pricing their service incredibly fairly. Charging almost twice as less as ExpressVPN, users are still given a very solid and reliable VPN service with Private Internet Access.

Have you used ExpressVPN or PIA?

If you have already used either (or perhaps even both) of these VPN services, then I would absolutely love to receive your own personal review. Whether you want to simply leave a star-rating, or a small summary of your experience, or even if you want to get into super detail and provide your own comprehensive firsthand review. 

Don't hesitate to place a comment in the commenting section at the bottom of this page. The more user reviews we have here; the more holistic and all-encompassing this comparison will be as a resource for other online folks looking for this information. 

Be sure to check out our comprehensive full reviews of both ExpressVPN and IPVanish to take a complete, detailed look at each service independently from each other:

 My Recommended Best VPN of 2017 

As my reviewing and comparing of all the most popular VPN service providers has grown and grown, I have been able to learn more and more about what the "ultimate VPN" may be, out of all the 100+ services currently available on the marketplace. 

And I have determined exactly that. When comparing every VPN against the most significant factors, as well as against the other top VPNs around -- I can say with educated confidence that the overall top VPN of 2017 is ExpressVPN.

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ExpressVPN vs PIA (Private Internet Access)

24 Answers

  1. Ulrika
    November 14, 2017 at 9:56 am

    does come down to what you want to use the vpn for. for example i care most about unblocking a bunch of services successfully, which expressVPN does in my experience better than PIA.

    1. Chris Beattie
      November 14, 2017 at 10:03 am

      hey Ulrika, thanks for sharing your thoughts! You are correct that it’s important to consider what you are using the VPN for primarily. This will influence the decision you make when choosing the best VPN for you.

  2. derek
    November 14, 2017 at 10:00 am

    not sure i like the kill switch thing. it gets annoying if you are not using the vpn for privacy first and foremost… anyone else think this?

  3. LIsa Powell
    February 3, 2018 at 5:36 am

    The funny thing is Pia just went head to head with Nord in the previous article. So it is now expressvpn​ ​vs​ ​pia? Well it should be an interesting match.

  4. Majisha H.
    February 3, 2018 at 7:13 am

    If the author even says that expressvpn​ ​vs​ ​private​ ​internet​ ​access is not even a close match that is telling me something. In reality though I suggest using it first perhaps?

  5. Lawrence C.
    February 3, 2018 at 7:32 am

    I know the verdict in this private​ ​internet​ ​access​ ​vs​ ​expressvpn battle has been decided. However I may try Pia just to be fair because for it to be featured here says a lot.

  6. Mohamed A.
    February 3, 2018 at 8:04 am

    Hmmmm!!! This is definitely a lopsided victory for Express huh? I can see it via the results but I guess I need to use it first before choosing.

  7. L. Jackson
    February 3, 2018 at 8:48 am

    Tell me about it that so called conservative notion is taken to a whole new ball game that is is nuts. Anyway like it or not VPN is here to stay I take it.

  8. Maureen Bush
    February 3, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Interesting if other parts of the world deem VPN illegal which I highly doubt. What happens to the users of those areas? Hell does this pia​ ​vs​ ​expressvpn conversation even gets there?

  9. Melissa R.
    February 3, 2018 at 10:03 am

    Thank god pia​ ​vs​ ​expressvpn is not that hard compared to the other question. However i will salute PIA for a gallant stand that it made for this.

  10. L. Norwood
    February 3, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Majority view this as an unfair match up and I cannot blame them. After all this expressvpn​ ​vs​ ​private​ ​internet​ ​access is like comparing an adult to a child. With that said though I have been using Pia and so far it has never failed me.

  11. Reatha Weaver
    February 3, 2018 at 10:59 am

    Although private​ ​internet​ ​access​ ​vs​ ​expressvpn has not went PIA’s way. A comment raised a valid point it all depends on your purpose. With that said PIA wins why because number of locations does not count. Unless you are looking for a specified channel.

  12. Matt A.
    February 3, 2018 at 11:39 am

    Overall feature sure expressvpn​ ​vs​ ​pia is a very bad match up. Stats wise I had to double check if it was a typo thing but security PIA fails? Wow I know its a landslide but not this bad.

  13. Earl P.
    February 3, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    I do not know that this is even a debate. Pia​ ​vs​ ​expressvpn? Sorry Express hands down but that does not mean Pia is bad. I would say it is just inadequate.

  14. Betty Boyd
    February 3, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    I kinda feel sorry for pia​ ​vs​ ​expressvpn match up. Pia was outclassed. Perhaps they can learn on this one and improved on their VPN brand.

  15. Lena
    February 3, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    Too bad Pia is not cut out for this private​ ​internet​ ​access​ ​vs​ ​expressvpn head to head. If I were Pia I will take note of this loss and bounce back next time.

  16. B. Francis
    February 3, 2018 at 1:29 pm

    All is not the end for Pia though with VPN blooming these days. Things can only go up from here. I would have preferred Pia to be honest.

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