Updated: January 1st, 2018
NordVPN vs PIA
So you have been researching which VPN you want to sign up with. You have ploughed through our reviews of all the biggest players in the market and you have narrowed your choice down to two – its NordVPN vs Private Internet Access. But which should you go for? How to make that final choice?
As always here at Fried.com, we consider it our job to give you the information you need to make an informed choice. And that’s exactly what this article is intended to do. Here we draw a comparison between two of the most popular VPNs on the market today. We analyse their offerings against each other, using the views and intelligence of our range of IT experts to core each over six of the key categories that matter to you.
The factors we have chosen are the ones that, in our view, should be the deciding factors for anyone looking to sign up to a VPN for the first time, or even thinking about switching to a new VPN.
So don’t waste any more time agonising over which of these top quality VPN providers to go for. Don’t spend hours trawling the internet to read uninformed articles which continuously contradict each other. Just keep reading below and you will be party to independent expert opinion to help you make an informed choice over which VPN to sign up for.
NOTE: The percentages for each VPN across the factors are calculated against every VPN service provider we have reviewed here at Fried.com. So 100% means that service is one of -- if not the -- best performer in that area.
Speed & Performance
Security & Privacy
So there you have it. The results are in and it is a clear victory for NordVPN.
Of the six categories we have compared, NordVPN comes out on top in three, and matches the results of Private Internet Access in two more. It is only on the issue of price, where Private Internet Access can claim to have the edge.
If you are happy to trust the judgement of our experts, then you have no need to read further. The results are conclusive and by clicking on one of the links on this page you can go over to your chosen VPN and sign up with them.
We know our readers though, and many of them like to dig down into the detail a little as well. Therefore, by all means keep on reading, where you can find a detailed breakdown of all the results outlined above, along with clear explanations as to why we’ve reached the conclusions we have.
1 month = $8
6 months = $30
12 months = $48
Make no mistake, the prices NordVPN offer are up there with the most competitive when you consider the level of service they offer. Few of the very best can offer a better deal for less.
1 month = $6.95
3 months = $35.95
12 months = $39.95
PIAs prices are some of the lowest you will find anywhere though. If price is the sole deciding factor then PIA wins hands down. But our expert opinion is that although PIA wins on price, they do not offer better value for money than NordVPN.
NordVPN vs PIA : BEST PRICE?
SPEED & PERFORMANCE
Aggregating multiple reviews by our peers across the web, it's safe to say that NordVPN offers fast and consistent connection speeds regardless of where in the world you chosen server is. They may not always be the quickest around, but their consistency is a huge advantage for many users.
Of course it is not enough to go by the general consensus of other users' experience. So I went ahead and did a personal speed test of NordVPN then screenshot my results. First without being connected to the VPN and then after connecting:
Overall NordVPN speed score:
PIA cannot quite match NordVPN for consistency, but they are right there in terms of connection speeds. Other than a small drop when you first connect, we found it hard to split the two on this factor.
Below is a snapshot of how the Private Internet Access VPN connection fluctuated from before I connected to afterwards. As you can see, although the actual numbers overall differ from NordVPN - the actual drops are comparably similar:
Overall Private Internet Access speed score:
PIA vs NordVPN : BEST SPEED & PERFORMANCE?
SECURITY & PRIVACY
The encryption offered by NordVPN can compete with anything you will find anywhere. 256-bit protocols and zero-logging are given to all users, which guarantees strong protection at all times.
The gaping difference in scores here is not down to PIAs encryption which is actually pretty good, but rather to their location in the US. This means they cannot guarantee to protect your data in the face of requests from law enforcement agencies. A big draw-back.
Definitely worth noting that NordVPN does not offer any leak-protection for IPv6, whereas PIA does offer this feature -- but -- when I personally tested out how "leaky" both of these VPNs are, I was saddened to see that PIA did show some IPv4 leaks. So for this reason, if I were to compare these two popular service providers against the other big ones in the marketplace right now; neither of them would hold up very strongly when it comes to pure data security and privacy protection.
NordVPN vs Private Internet Access : BEST SECURITY & PRIVACY?
NordVPN are as good as it gets on this front. They support almost every device you can conceivably think you might want to run through a VPN, and they offer a great range of setup guides too.
PIA have also gone to a great deal of effort to ensure they are compatible on as many devices as possible. They too have succeeded and we cannot split the two on this one.
There really is no separating the two on this factor. Essentially any and every device with the ability to connect to the internet that you would use is compatible with both NordVPN and Private Internet Access.
So if you want to use a VPN across multiple devices to either unblock content or privacy protect your entire online data/activity - then you are all good here with both of these.
PIA vs NordVPN : BEST DEVICE COMPATIBILITY?
NordVPN does pretty well here with a respectable number of servers offered. All the most popular locations are catered for, meaning if you need to use NordVPN to get round geo-blocking, it is likely you'll be ok.
PIA offers far fewer server locations than NordVPN, but again users will find that all the most important destinations are offered. If this is a defining factor for you, then now you know which to choose.
Private Internet Access vs NordVPN : MOST SERVER LOCATIONS?
NordVPN offer the full range of customer service provisions, with email and ticketing options, but the key factor which elevates them above PIA is their live text help which is excellent.
PIA do offer all the same forms of customer service, but response times do tend to be a bit slower, hence why we have given NordVPN the edge on this one. With that said - when PIA support do respond, they are fantastic.
Private Internet Access vs NordVPN : BEST CUSTOMER SUPPORT?
It is worth mentioning a few features that each of these VPN providers offer that should be considered before you choose one over the other. So let's take a quick look at these now.
TOR over VPN
IPv6 Leak Protection
As you can see in the above table, both of these VPN service providers offer a sizeable amount of extra features that go above and beyond what a user expects from a VPN. This is great, however there are some short-comings on these features, as is usually the case when a service provider tries to offer too many feature-sets and thus cannot deliver 100% on all of them, since the required investment of time and effort is too great.
Where NordVPN falls short is on its kill switch. Rather than instantly cutting off your internet connection (like a good kill switch should) this one actually stops all internet-connected applications you are currently running on your device.
PIA, although offering a solid IPv6 leak protection feature, did show IPv4 leaks each time I would reconnect to the VPN software.
**UPDATE: PIA no longer support IPv6 leak protection as the implementation of it in their VPN was compromising the overall security.**
With that said, both of these VPNs deliver well enough for their respective price points. However, there is superior one of the two:
So you have read all the details, seen all the reasoning, and the conclusion we have reached is pretty clear. PIA does have some excellent attributes but when it comes to NordVPN vs Private Internet Access, there is a clear winner, and that is NordVPN.
They might cost a little bit more, especially when compared against the free VPN services out there -- but they can offer a much better level of security, better customer service, and more server locations. Therefore if you are looking for value for money, it is worth paying that little bit more for the VPN which offers a higher level of service.
In this comparison overview, the winner is NordVPN. However, ultimately there are better VPNs out there than both NordVPN and PIA...
Want a detailed review on each of these VPN providers?
Be sure to check out our comprehensive full reviews of both NordVPN and Private Internet Access to take a complete, in-depth look at each service independently from each other:
Have you tried NordVPN or Private Internet Access?
If you have experience with either (or even better - both!) of these VPN providers, then we would absolutely love to hear your thoughts, opinions, feedback and general comments on how they performed for you.
Do not hesitate to let us know in the comments section below. You can give a simple "out of 10" star-rating, or be as super detailed as you like. I will welcome your insights with open arms and be sure to respond to any experiences you had with either of these VPNs that agree/contradict what I stated in this comparison guide.
Thanks for reading. Now you can be sure that NordVPN is the best for you, if you were on the fence between these two.
⋆ My Ultimate VPN Recommendation ⋆
Having comprehensively reviewed all of the most popular and highly-praised VPN providers around in the market today, as well as conducting in-depth comparisons of each against the other - I can say with absolutely certainty that the best VPN around, pound for pound, is ExpressVPN.
Check out my review or go direct to the ExpressVPN website here to learn more: