NordVPN vs. Private Internet Access

NordVPN vs Private Internet Access PIA

NordVPN vs. Private Internet Access (a.k.a PIA) – one of the most reliable VPN service at the cheapest price point vs. a strong customer base with proven no-logging policy in the court of law.

Who will prevail?

If you browse the Internet often, you’ve probably come across these two top-tier VPNs in the market. These VPN services are also prominently shown on the list of our top 10 VPNs.

In case you’re not fully educated on either VPNs, you can read the NordVPN review and PIA review first.

Now, let’s run a comparison to answer the question that needs to be answered- which one is better?

NordVPN and PIA Comparison

You want it cheap but at the same time, you also want to protect your privacy.

Yes, reviews might provide details about a VPN but it’s not always an easy walk towards privacy protection and safe browsing activities.

Don’t worry, at the end of the day, both options are fantastic. But make no mistake, there is only one winner between this comparison.

Servers and Locations

When it comes to server count, both VPN services offer an amount that’s hard to keep up with – NordVPN with over 5000 servers and PIA with over 3500. Region-wise, both are also reliable, with NordVPN being available in 61 countries while PIA in 31 countries.

NordVPN’s server offering may be a big boost compared to PIA’s because of the presence of its virtual servers around the world in 61 countries. Although the latter’s region accessibility is not at par with the former, offering 31 countries is impressive nonetheless.

Server locations matter because maybe you want to access localized content which is available in your area. If you’re in an English-speaking country, then you’re lucky because both offer extraordinary services in the US, CA, UK, NZ, and other English-speaking countries.

But if you’re residing in a region which is not that populated, you’re going to have to place your bet on NordVPN since there’s a higher chance of your country being on the region list.

And if you’re in heavily-censored countries such as Russia, you can also count on NordVPN. PIA falls short in this particular category since it doesn’t offer any servers in Russia, primarily because of the new VPN laws recently implemented there.

In addition, let’s also not forget about TOR integration. Both premium services allow you to access .onion sites without prying eyes.

All in all, when it comes to servers and locations, NordVPN clearly outperforms PIA, as it offers more servers on more locations – even those heavily-censored ones.

VPN Speed and Performance

In case you haven’t read any of our detailed VPN reviews: we have an extensive method of testing all features including speeds. We test speeds from three different continents using a 100 Mbps connection.

Both offered fast “enough” speeds, but there is a clear winner here.

NordVPN showed around 10-25% speed reduction whereas PIA saw reductions between 25-30%.

NordVPN optimizes your browsing experience by connecting you to the fastest server available based on your location.

We believe their smart routing system gave an edge over PIA. The latter is commendable, but if speed is your deciding factor for switching to a VPN, then NordVPN wins in this category by a single-digit margin.

Netflix Test

One of the reasons why the “premium” label exists for a VPN is most likely due to having Netflix access. Having the option to unlock region-locked content is sometimes the #1 priority for people.

After all, 57% of Netflix’ customers are from outside of the US. Region-locking affects over half of Netflix customers!

NordVPN is one of the best VPNs for unblocking Netflix, advertising region-unblocks for the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands, and Japan.

As for PIA, it no longer unlocks Netflix. Private Internet Access made a policy stating that it does not support unlocking of geo-restricted content a while ago. We know this may sound a bit ironic since its primary selling point was its access to Netflix through its servers.

While the guarantee no longer exists, you can still find yourself having Netflix content available sometimes.

However, with Netflix aggressively blocking VPNs, PIA’s servers get blacklisted quite fast and are not reliable for Netflix. We can only hope that this feature will become available again in the near future. But for now, PIA isn’t the best choice if you’re into unlocking geo-restricted content.

Overall, it’s a bit disappointing because, with no competition available, NordVPN clearly wins on this one hands-down.

Torrenting Policy

If you’ve been reading our reviews and guides, you know that we do not condone piracy or torrenting of copyrighted shows.

Fortunately, both support a secure p2p connection.

However, there were no mentions on the PIA website about any policies concerning torrent downloads, nor were there any indications that they promote it – as opposed to NordVPN which clearly lays flat all guidelines concerning torrenting on its lengthy Terms of Service.

A little trivia: PIA has built in its reputation of being torrent-friendly over the years, so people consider it as a good VPN for torrenting minus the policy.

On the torrenting front, PIA is the winner.

Pricing & Plans

In terms of pricing plans, there’s no debate that both offer a premium service at a cheaper pricing point than others. But the question is, how cheaper?

If you’ve read our review, you probably know that NordVPN is our no-brainer VPN because of its pricing point. But PIA’s plans, although a bit pricey, are also worth considering.

For longevity, the best plan for PIA is $3.49 per month on average for 2 years, while NordVPN is at $2.99 per month for 3 years. If you’re looking to use a cheaper VPN for an extra year, then you’re certainly going to go for NordVPN. Then again, it’s only 50 cents difference per month. What can you even buy with 50 cents?

If you do the math, NordVPN’s package is cheaper at the end of the day. You can’t deny that fact.

When it comes to monthly plans, PIA wins over NordVPN with flying colors, as it is priced at $9.99/month compared to NordVPN’s $11.95/month.

Above that, apart from these plans, both offer VPN for businesses with rich features.

Taking all these into consideration, if you want a longer subscription, go with NordVPN. For monthly, you can try PIA.

It’s a tie here.

Refund Policy

If you’re dissatisfied with both VPNs (which is highly unlikely), then don’t worry.

Both provide refund policies as long as you sign up on their website and not a reseller.

The only drawback on this one is the duration of the money-back guarantee. PIA only offers it for 7 days as compared to NordVPN’s astounding 30 days (which is a long time). This means that you’re given much more leeway to test NordVPN as compared to PIA.

If you are not satisfied with either service, simply contact support for all your money back. We’ve tested the refund system of both companies and received our money back within the week.

Simply put, it’s a hassle-free and reliable process for both, but NordVPN has a longer money-back guarantee period.

Payment Methods

As for payments, both equally offer excellent methods.

It’s hard to differentiate between the two because both offer something that’s not on the other.

Payment with cryptocurrencies is more than just a trend; it’s one way of keeping your identity and transactions secure.

NordVPN offers a wide range of payment methods with cryptocurrencies. But in addition to Bitcoin, it also payments made through ETH and XRP. PIA, on the other hand, supports ETH, LTC and ZEC aside from the usual Bitcoin payments.

What gives PIA an advantage in this category is its ability to pay anonymously with many major brand gift cards like Walmart, Best Buy or Starbucks which NordVPN is unable to do at this moment.

PIA should win some brownie points from those who are serious about their privacy.

Device Compatibility

In terms of device usage, PIA wins by offering more simultaneous device connections. PIA allows up to 10 simultaneous connections while NordVPN only offers 6.

But in cases where your Wi-Fi enabled device does not have a configuration for a VPN; good news – you can buy pre-flashed routers for both VPN providers.

These routers are pre-configured to have the VPNs already. The NordVPN website has some instructions on configuring your routers to connect to their network while PIA has less documentation around this. On top of that, PIA doesn’t advertise this option that well. Strange.

Sign Up Process

If you value your privacy, an anonymous sign-up process is one of the main considerations for subscribing to a VPN. Luckily, both companies offer a standard sign up procedure which consists of the usual email log-ins and choosing a subscription plan.

As a side note, PIA will randomly generate a username for you if you wish which can greatly speed up the process if you’re too lazy to think of names.

Once you complete your payment, just click install then you’re good to go.

It’s a walk in the park for both.

Product Interface

Both UI and UX are subjective. In other words, it’s difficult to be objective in this area.

Both VPNs are easy to use across several devices – there’s your connect button, usual servers list and other configuration settings. For the aesthetics, both UIs look good and clean so there’s no debate about that.

There’s no clear winner here in terms of interacting with the product. What separates the two VPNs are the underlying services, namely: privacy, Netflix, torrenting and bypassing region-locks.

NordVPN does have a quick connect button and the service attempts to route you to the best server right away. It even includes recommendations for Netflix, which can be a bit handy for those who want to stream.

As for user experience, it’s quite similar between the two but we like NordVPN more. Again, it’s just personal preference.

Customer Support

You can’t deny the fact that most well-renowned VPN services offer 24/7 live chat support – including NordVPN.

This is another category where PIA entirely loses out to NordVPN.

The lack of immediate customer support is one of the main disadvantages of PIA’s service.

Be that as it may, PIA compensates for its lack of on-demand support with an above-average FAQ, blog, and website in general.

But really, don’t we all want personalized customer support who can talk us through our issues?

Product Documentation

In terms of product documentation, both are equally commendable.

It’s not as detailed but the visuals provided in both simply provide some legitimate and thorough background in VPN or other things for first-time users.

Both companies blog about privacy issues and security. There are even recommendations on both which you can try!

Logging Policy

If you’re a privacy advocate, pay attention to this one.

Both companies have a zero-logging policy – there’s no question about that.

The thing is, you can never 100% trust a VPN service. Fair provision for your privacy and safety can be a consideration, but risk management is a different story altogether. Which VPN can expose you to fewer risks?

Zero-log policies mean that your activity is not recorded or logged. This means that even if you use your personal information to access data on a given website, there is a little to zero chance that your activity will be recorded or logged on the VPNs database.

It’s fair to accept NordVPN’s claim that an algorithm keeps username and timestamp of the last session which is wiped 15 minutes after the session is terminated, to maintain their 6 device connection policy.

But this is where PIA stands out.

In case you didn’t know, privacy and security may not bode well for PIA because of the fact that it is based in the US which, as we all know, has some of the strictest policies regarding privacy and data handling.

However, Private Internet Access has a strong policy when it comes to protecting customer information.

Given that all premium VPNs nowadays “prove” no-logging policies through third-party audits. PIA has proved its no-logs claim in court, twice.

Yes, you’re not mistaken. Twice. In court. It’s no wonder that PIA can boast about its anonymity with users because it has proven itself as one of the most secure VPNs in the market.

If you’re concerned about privacy, PIA is the better choice simply because NordVPN’s claims are untested in the court of law.

IP and DNS Leak Test

If you’re afraid of potential leaks on your IP and DNS, then you can rest assured with these two VPNs.

There are no leaks of any kind. We tested these two and they always came clean.

Although it’s worth noting that there have been reported cases where users have dealt with the WebRTC bug while using PIA.

We remind you to just disable WebRTC in your browser to prevent it.

Always take note that if your IP or DNS is exposed, you risk exposing yourself and your activity. For instance, when you torrent, your activity, and your identity become visible to the public. We suggest that you hide your activities with a premium VPN.

Encryption and Protocols

When it comes to encryption, one can have so many preferences so these entirely depend on you.

To start, NordVPN uses AES with 256-bit keys which is the standard “military-grade” encryption. It also offers IKEv2/IPsec and OpenVPN as protocol options.

On the same note, PIA’s fastest encryption is 128-bit in CBC mode. There is also the possibility of using AES 256-bit in CBC mode, but this will make things a bit slower. It also offers L2TP/IPsec and OpenVPN and there’s also PPTP in case you want to go old school.

With that being said, both VPN services offer a great number of choices on the encryption front. It entirely depends on what your preference is.

Kill Switch

Are you afraid of being detected whenever there’s an IP or DNS leak on your server? Well, worry no more because both VPNs offer a kill switch to shut out all trouble.

Leaks happen but if all protocols are set up properly and the kill switch is on, there’s nothing to worry about.

Business Acumen

When it comes to conducting business, it’s actually hard to distinguish one from the other.

NordVPN was launched in 2012 under Tefinkom & Co., S.A. in Panama. It’s probably one of the best VPNs in the market today.

PIA, on the other hand, is slightly older. It was established in 2010 under London Trust Media Inc. and has provided reliable service ever since. Furthermore, it champions among users with its no logging-policy that’s been proven in court.

There are hardly any VPNs in the market which come close to PIA on this matter.

It’s common for these types of businesses to stay private, but with PIA’s commitment to transparency, you can also see on its website the people behind the company.

Most of the time these kinds of details stay hidden, so as to prevent the government (including the Five Eyes Alliance) from identifying key people and compromising user information.

PIA thrives on the fact that they’ve been tested in court while NordVPN thrives on their jurisdiction.


When it comes to jurisdiction, you have to make sure that the VPN you choose does not operate in a country which is a member of the Five, Nine or Fourteen Eyes Alliance. It’s a no-brainer.

Thankfully, NordVPN is based in Panama, so it’s definitely away from the jurisdiction of any “eye” you’re worried about.

Panama operates as an independent country and is often not compliant or cooperative with transparency laws. As such, the likelihood of your information being compromised or investigated is close to zero. It thrives away from prying eyes so what would be the reason for it to stray away?

But for PIA… It’s bad news.

We all know it’s based in the US, and that poses a problem for so many people. As you may know, the US has one of the strictest and most privacy-related laws around the world, so it’s no surprise that users of PIA may be a bit worried about their information being leaked or compromised in any way.

As we previously mentioned, PIA had to prove in court that they had no-logging policies. Twice.

This fact may be a breather because as the decision implies, they keep little to no information about their users. However, the fact that they’re in the US may force them to hand over what little information they have – which is not good at all.

Security and Policy Audits

It’s a great deal of comfort when you know that the VPN you’re using is open to being audited for transparency and possible flaws.

Being at the top of the VPN market is no easy feat, that’s why NordVPN always makes sure that it exhibits the greatest level of transparency possible to its customers.

It was revealed on February 21, 2019, that one of the Big 4 auditing firms in the world, PricewaterhouseCoopers AG, performed an audit on the company. The results came out well as expected and the audit report was made available to NordVPN subscribers and free trial users.

PIA, on the other hand, does not find the need for an independent audit as of this time. Replying through a Reddit post, PIA President Jason Q. stated:

While we consider independent audits to be valuable and important in some situations, we do not have any immediate plans to have any independent audits carried out by external parties.
We feel that an audit would not add value as it would speak only to a brief snapshot of time (i.e. the period during which such an audit was conducted) but could offer no guarantees or reassurance for our users with regard to any other period of time.”

Naturally, since they are also committed to transparency, they did publish a transparency report on their website which you can find here.

At this moment, we appreciate NordVPN’s efforts in inviting auditors to review their policies. PIA’s transparency page seems a bit lacking, to be honest.

Winner: NordVPN

The verdict?

NordVPN wins this face-off hands down as the more well-rounded VPN that offers those “premium” features you may be looking for.

NordVPN has more regions, Netflix access, faster speeds and they’ve even invited third-party auditors to review their policies.

Congratulations on making it this far! Now you can enjoy the full benefits of a premium VPN for just 50 cents more per month.

Get NordVPN

The Full Breakdown

Both services have:

  • Fast speeds – 20-30% speed reduction, fast enough for 4k videos.
  • Secure torrenting environment – Torrent all you want. Both support p2p connections.
  • User-friendly interface – Both are pretty easy to use and configure; browsing will always be a breeze.
  • Full security and anonymity – No IP and DNS leaks. Both feature high-grade encryption and options for safety customization (ex – kill switch).
  • Anonymous payment methods – Cryptocurrency payments enabled.
  • No log policies – Neither companies log, but only one has proved itself in court.

The main differentiators are listed on the sidebar.

Get NordVPN

Editors Note: NordVPN is the better choice versus PIA… unless you are a privacy advocate and can trust that the U.S. court is not working with PIA. PIA has proven its no log policy in court so if you’re an activist, or you’re simply into doing things outside the law then PIA is the better choice.

The Best VPN for Kodi

In case you weren’t aware of it before reading this, Kodi is an open-source multi-platform software that brings the theatre to your living room. It was first released in June 2004 and hit mainstream audiences in December 2016, facing fierce criticism when questions regarding its legality started to surface—Kodi in its unmodified state is 100% legal; it’s simply a software solution designed to stream content across different devices.

Today, Kodi is one of the most popular media players around, something helped by the fact that it’s completely free, open-source, and has a lot of additional functionality and capability thanks to the various add-ons available.

One type of add-on you can add to Kodi is a VPN and this is what we are going to be covering today!

Why Use a VPN With Kodi?

A VPN—virtual private network—adds an entire extra dimension of functionality and usability to your Kodi box… at least, it does if you pick a good one!

When used with Kodi, a VPN encrypts all internet traffic and tunnels it through one of its intermediary servers via the location you’ve connected to. When you do this, you can unblock content that’s geographically restricted—e.g. watch content that’s only available in the U.S. whilst physically located in the UK—and protects you from vulnerabilities that are inherent in third-party Kodi add-ons.

Choosing the best VPN for Kodi is very important, though—choose anything other than the best, and you may find it hard to stream any content at all.

The best ones have lots of servers located around the world that are fast and always being updated. This means that there will always be a server available that’s fast enough to stream content and can get around geographic filters.

Things Look for When Choosing a VPN For Kodi

When it comes to choosing a VPN to use for Kodi, there are factors that are more important than others; for example, it’s not exactly vital you need a kill-switch during your usage, is it? Instead, here’s what you should be looking for in a good VPN for your Kodi usage:

Server Choices

You need plenty of international choices. If a VPN only offers one server in each country, it’s likely to be blocked by Netflix. After all, it’s easy to target one server; it’s not so easy when a VPN has hundreds of servers per country, and regularly refreshes their IP addresses and servers.
Look for VPNs offering such high server counts and such.

Fast Speeds

Good streaming requires good internet speeds. If a VPN throttles your speeds too much, you can say goodbye to any ideas of streaming content via Kodi. Make sure whichever VPN you opt for, its servers are up to scratch.

Strong Encryption

Consider your protection. Ensure whatever VPN you use offers strong encryption; if you’re accessing less-than-legal materials, you don’t want to be hit with copyright infringement notices and the like.
Check out some of our top VPN recommendations below; they all offer extremely strong encryption protections.


Got more than one person wanting to use Kodi on your VPN? Or perhaps you simply want to watch multiple things/access multiple files? A good VPN should offer multiple concurrent logins. Does the one you’re looking at not offer the option? Avoid it – there are plenty who do!

These requirements are essentially the same when you’re looking for the best VPNs for Netflix since both products face issues around content restrictions.

5 Best VPNs to Use with Kodi

There are many VPNs available for Kodi and we’ve narrowed them all down to 5 we think are the best.

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN tops virtually every list we do, including our general top VPN list. It’s a great all-around VPN that’s suitable for any and all usage, including on Kodi devices for seamless and effortless streaming.

Reliable for unblocking geo-blocked content on services that include BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and HBO, ExpressVPN’s servers are always being updated, with new ones added and older ones that have been geo-blocked removed. We’ve personally never had trouble accessing BBC iPlayer from here in the States—there’s always a server that’s working.

ExpressVPN also scores full marks when it comes security, boasting AES 256-bit encryption used alongside the trusted OpenVPN tunneling protocol with other options available.

There are native apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux through a command line. For Kodi devices based on Amazon’s Fire TV, there’s a native app available on Amazon’s own app store. ExpressVPN has plenty of tutorials available, too, for other Kodi devices.

To make the job infinitely easier, consider installing ExpressVPN on your router if you are using one that supports VPNs. When you do this, all devices that are connected to your router, including Kodi, will have their traffic tunneled through ExpressVPN on your chosen server. This eliminates the need to set up ExpressVPN natively on each device.
Try ExpressVPN

2. NordVPN

NordVPN is another great all-rounder that regularly features highly on VPN review lists, including our own.

At the time of writing, NordVPN offers a massive 5,923 servers operating across 62 countries, 1,926 and 681 of which are in the U.S. and UK respectively meaning that NordVPN is by far one of the best VPNs for Kodi and that you will always find a server that’s suitable for getting around geoblocking. All these servers have respectable speeds making them perfect for streaming.

For installation on Kodi, Android users can download an APK file directly from the NordVPN website or use Google Play. At the moment, there’s no Linux version, however, it can be manually configured. Again, just like ExpressVPN, NordVPN supports router installation on models that support OpenVPN which means you can use it with your Kodi device without having to install it natively.

In terms of security, NordVPN uses AES 256-bit encryption alongside the OpenVPN tunneling protocol that provides comprehensive and sturdy protection of your IP address, traffic, and identity. NordVPN doesn’t log any information, either. In addition to a native Android app, there are also apps for Windows, macOS, and iOS.
Try NordVPN

3. IPVanish

When we tested IPVanish ourselves, we found it demonstrated excellent performance levels that are more consistently reliable when compared to others in the same bracket.

So far as Kodi is concerned, IPVanish’s native desktop, Android, and iOS apps will work in the background and provide secure, unrestricted access to geo-blocked Kodi content through add-ons. For Kodi users who have it sideloaded or installed on a smart TV, Fire TV Stick, console, or set-top box, installation requires a little more work.

If you are using a Fire TV Stick, IPVanish’s app is configured and optimized to be seamlessly used with the Fire TV Stick’s remote control, making it much easier to select from over 1,000 different servers that are fast enough to handle streaming video content, alongside up to 9 other simultaneous connections.

IPVanish uses AES 256-bit encryption alongside OpenVPN and doesn’t log anything, meaning your privacy and security is always protected.

You can try it now for 7 days risk-free thanks to their 7-day money-back guarantee. There are three different plans to choose from, starting from $10 per month when billed month-to-month, or $6.49 when billed for 12 months at $77.88.

4. CyberGhost

Launched in 2011, CyberGhost has managed to grow from relative obscurity to a service used by over 20 million people in just over 7 years. Based in Romania, it falls outside of any international agreements that facilitate the collection and sharing of data and intelligence (e.g. 5 Eyes.)

While CyberGhost doesn’t natively support Kodi installation through Linux (you’ll have to configure it yourself), there’s an Android app that can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. It cannot be sideloaded or downloaded through an APK, so anybody wanting to use Kodi and has a version of Android without the Google Play Store will need to undertake manual configuration.

CyberGhost categorizes all its servers that support bypassing geoblocking by which video streaming services the server works on. So, if you want a server that’s Netflix or BBC iPlayer-friendly, they can be found easily. All servers are completely secure and offer fast speeds that are more than suitable for the handling of even the most intense video streaming.

CyberGhost offers a 14-day no questions asked money-back guarantee for its month-to-month plan and a whopping 45-day money-back guarantee for plans that have been pre-purchased for 6 months or more.
Try CyberGhost

5. Private Internet Access (PIA)

PIA is one of our favorite VPN providers. Although they’re based in the U.S., they have come out victorious in not one, but two court cases where they refused to release data and information it held to the authorities. Even if PIA lost their court cases and was forced to disclose information, it would be of very little use to the authorities because PIA has a strict anti-logging policy that it follows to the letter.

For Android and Linux-based Kodi devices, PIA offers a version that works with the OpenELEC Linux distribution (on Raspberry Pi, for example) and an APK file that can be downloaded from the PIA website and installed on Android devices that don’t have a Google Play Store. Both apps are very lightweight and easy to use.

There’s plenty of choices when it comes to servers and locations, and they’re all fast enough to handle streaming HD content. In terms of security, there’s both AES 128-bit and 256-bit encryption available, alongside the OpenVPN tunneling protocol.

PIA offers a 7-day money-back guarantee and its monthly rolling plan is a budget-friendly $6.95. Subscribe for two years and pay only $69.95, a monthly price of $2.91.

Unlock Kodi’s True Power With a VPN

When using a VPN with Kodi, it’s not so much about privacy and logging, as it is about fast servers and unblocking content from other countries.

You want to be using one that’s available at a budget-friendly price point, has plenty of choices when it comes to servers that are fast and suitable for streaming, and can be used just as easily with Kodi as it does with any other device.

We’ve highlighted 5 VPNs that we regard as the very best VPNs for use with Kodi. There are others available, however, many of which you can find we’ve reviewed elsewhere on the website. Be sure to have a browse, and see if you find the perfect one for you!

Private Internet Access VPN Review

If you’re familiar with VPNs, you’ll likely have heard of Private Internet Access, or PIA for short.

PIA is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) based in Colorado, USA. The parent company is London Trust Media, Inc.

Right off the bat, that might be a big “no” for many users simply because of the jurisdiction implications; the USA is part of several groups, namely the Five Eyes which allows other members of the group to share surveillance data.

PIA still somehow manages to make the best VPN list on pretty much all VPN review sites (and ranks quite high too). How come?

It’s due to the fact that PIA is the only VPN service with proof of not storing and retaining customer data. No other VPN services have achieved this feat. More on this below.

PIA is an extremely well-known VPN service that started operating in 2010, so it’s had 9 years to figure out how to deliver a great service. Over time PIA has reached a significant number of users, and received global recognition for its services:

Here’s a 5-minute video review we made (but keep reading because our written review is more in-depth):

Private Internet Access VPN Specs & Offers

VPN Name Private Internet Access
Leak Test No Leaks
Logging Policy No Logs
Speed Fast
Torrenting Torrenting & P2P Allowed
Netflix Unblocks Netflix
Jurisdiction Inside Five Eyes
Servers / Countries 3300 / 32
Max Connections 5
Kill Switch Has Kill Switch
Anonymous Payment Methods Crypto, Gift Cards
Free Trial Not Available
Refunds 7 Days
Customer Support Live Chat, Email, Ticket
Price Starting From $3.33


Privacy and Security: Praises all-around. Absolutely zero logging policy.

When it comes to privacy and security, the situation may not seem ideal because of the fact that PIA is US-based.

However, Private Internet Access has a strong policy when it comes to protecting customer information.

Besides the fact that this company maintains a no-logging policy, it has not only once but twice proven loyalty to its customers.

PIA has proved its no-logs claim in court, twice. 

Not many VPN providers can boast that they’ve never revealed any information about subscribers to the authorities. In fact, the closest second in terms of proving their no log policy is probably a three-way tie between NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and VyprVPN since they’ve all gone through independent third-party security audits.

PIA definitely deserves credit and declaration as a secure VPN option for providing clear evidence of its commitment to user anonymity and security.

Servers and Locations: Plenty to choose from

Today, Private Internet Access VPN has over 3300 servers in 32 countries.

Although the number of servers is inferior compared to other premium VPN providers, offering over 3300 servers is impressive nonetheless.

The servers are well-deployed around the globe, meaning a great range of access for users. This number also seems to change ever so often; we’ve seen the server count at 3700+ in March 2019.

This geographical diversity includes North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Put simply, their servers have most of the world covered.

It’s worth mentioning that PIA doesn’t offer any servers in Russia, due to the new VPN laws recently implemented there.

Speed and Performance: Plenty of speed to go around!

When it comes to overall speed, Private Internet Access fares well against its competition.

However, the VPN’s speed depends on a number of factors.

There are a few speed qualifications that need to be taken into consideration.

When it comes to latency, we only saw a small 10% increase in ping from EU to the US – a great selling point for gamers in particular.

PIA handled the download speed test like a champ as well.

The international test score for PIA was reducing download speeds by less than 30% across the US and EU. In the international upload test, Private Internet Access slowed upload speeds by less than 30%, ranking it among the best providers in this scenario.

North American VPN Server Speed Test

NA Baseline
(Without VPN)
Test Results
(to NA Server)
EU Baseline
(Without VPN)
Test Results
(to EU Server)
(5 ms)
7 ms (+2 ms) Ping
(90 ms)
99 ms (+9 ms)
(98.6 Mbps)
72.4 Mbps
(-26.1 Mbps, -27%)
(87.4 Mbps)
68.2 Mbps
(-19.2 Mbps, -22%)
(98.4 Mbps)
71.2 Mbps
(-27.2 Mbps, -28%)
(56.3 Mbps)
48.7 Mbps
(-7.5 Mbps, -13%)

European VPN Server Speed Test

NA Baseline
(Without VPN)
Test Results
(to NA Server)
EU Baseline
(Without VPN)
Test Results
(to EU Server)
(93 ms)
105 ms (+12 ms) Ping
(27 ms)
30 ms (+3 ms)
(92 Mbps)
68.3 Mbps
(-23.7 Mbps, -26%)
(99.1 Mbps)
70.5 Mbps
(-28.6 Mbps, -29%)
(58.6 Mbps)
40.3 Mbps
(-18.3 Mbps, -31%)
(98.7 Mbps)
70.6 Mbps
(-28 Mbps, -28%)

Asian VPN Server Speed Test

NA Baseline
(Without VPN)
Test Results
(to NA Server)
EU Baseline
(Without VPN)
Test Results
(to EU Server)
(278 ms)
294 ms (+16 ms) Ping
(281 ms)
310 ms (+29 ms)
(46.9 Mbps)
18.2 Mbps
(-28.6 Mbps, -61%)
(57.8 Mbps)
40.5 Mbps
(-17.3 Mbps, -30%)
(7.9 Mbps)
4.6 Mbps
(-3.3 Mbps, -42%)
(6.2 Mbps)
3.8 Mbps
(-2.4 Mbps, -38%)

All in all, Private Internet Access won’t be setting any records with its speeds, but it’s definitely up there among the fastest VPNs. If you take a look at the overall package with this in mind, then PIA is more than recommendable as a VPN provider.

If speed is your deciding factor though, you’ll definitely find faster VPNs.

Netflix Test – Passed!

Our test revealed that Netflix (US) works on PIA’s servers. In fact, the very first server we connected to worked flawlessly.

You can watch our video on the bottom of this VPN review for additional proof. There are also hundreds of user reviews on various forums and the like on the matter.

With PIA VPN you can surely get US Netflix access. There may be minor hiccups but you’ll get complete, unrestricted Netflix soon enough.

Not only Netflix, but you can unblock various streaming services like YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, etc. PIA isn’t the best for unlocking these services since they don’t guarantee or advertise this feature, but we see that the streaming services are unblocked reliably. The VPNs that do advertise this feature are ahead of PIA in that regard, however.

Torrenting Policy

Private Internet Access offers a wide range of features, and that includes P2P support.

Many of the servers are optimized for peer-to-peer activities and can handle the load.

There were no mentions on the PIA website about any policies concerning torrent downloads, nor were there any indications that they promote it.

Worst case scenario, the user is still technically safe since PIA does not keep logs anyway.

IP and DNS Leak Test: Another pass for PIA!

When it comes to IP leaks, DNS leaks, and WebRTC leaks, Private Internet Access came out squeaky clean in our tests, meaning no leaks of any nature were found.

We ran a leak test for IPv6 after and the results came back clean.

It’s worth bearing in mind that there have been reported cases where users have dealt with the WebRTC bug while using PIA.

In order to prevent a WebRTC leak, you may need to disable WebRTC in your browser.

Encryption and Protocols: Strong and secure, just the way we like it.

Private Internet Access “uses the open source, industry standard OpenVPN for providing a secure VPN tunnel”.

PIA does offer a few different options, giving customers the freedom to choose the level of encryption for their VPN sessions.

When choosing an encryption option, you need to consider the 3 default options (if you’re super serious about security like us): data encryption, data authentication, and handshake.

Data encryption is the symmetric cipher algorithm itself, used for encrypting and decrypting your data.

The fastest encryption mode is AES 128-bit in CBC mode (due to a lower encryption standard). There is also the possibility of using AES 256-bit (128 x 2) in CBC mode or no encryption at all.

Having this encryption means that your IP will be hidden and your login details will be encrypted. The data, however, will be totally exposed.

Speaking of data authentication, it’s a feature used to protect you from active attacks.

If you’re not concerned about attacks of this type, you might as well turn such authentication off.

The fastest authentication mode is SHA1, more exactly HMAC using Secure Hash Algorithm (160-bit). Another possibility is SHA256 (256-bit).

The Handshake Encryption is actually a secret key shared between you and the server, used to establish a secure connection. PIA offers 6 possible keys: RSA-2048, RSA-3072, RSA-4096, ECC-256k1, ECC-256r1, ECC-521.

The ECC (Elliptic Curve Cryptography) option comes with a warning.

Due to certain NSA revelations, the ECC keys may be susceptible to cracking. Because of the fact that it is not proven that ECC keys lead to endangerment, they are still available at your own risk.

What’s more, PIA has picked the most reasonable default settings and highly recommends to customers to stick with them.

Depending on your needs and ultimate goal, there are 4 options for you to choose from.

Default Recommended Protection

  • Data encryption: AES-128
  • Data authentication: SHA1
  • Handshake: RSA-2048

All Speed No Safety

  • Data encryption: None
  • Data authentication: None
  • Handshake: ECC-256k1

Maximum Protection

  • Data encryption: AES-256
  • Data authentication: SHA256
  • Handshake: RSA-4096

Risky Business

  • Data encryption: AES-128
  • Data authentication: None
  • Handshake: RSA-2048

Sometimes making the right choice is difficult. With PIA, the 4 options are all pretty solid.

Kill Switch: Kill switch activated for your safety!

One of the many great security features that PIA has deployed is a Kill Switch.

This is very useful on the off-chance that your VPN could leak either the IP address/DNS when losing connectivity; in such cases, the kill-switch automatically disconnects and shuts down every internet connected app and keeps you anonymous.

Pricing & Plans: Affordable and flexible

When it comes to a long-term subscription plan, Private Internet Access is one of the cheapest VPNs on the market.

The price range for PIA’s services used to start from $69.95 for two years (or $2.91 per month) and scaled up to $39.95 per year ($3.33 per month), which made it financially accessible for any customer.

In early 2019 Private Internet Access VPN bumped up their prices slightly:

Then they brought the prices down in the middle of 2019 by giving 3 extra months for free when signing up for 2 years:

PIA, like most other VPNs, offers 3 price plans:

  1. 1 Month Plan – $9.95/mo
  2. 1 Year Plan – $71.88 or $5.99/mo
  3. 2 Years Plan + 3 Months – $83.87 or $3.11/mo

The Monthly plan is the most expensive one, with a price of $9.95 per month, but as you’d expect, Private Internet Access VPN offers significant discounts for long-term contracts.

The Two Year plan works out most cost-effective for customers, costing on average, $3.11 per month; $6.84 cheaper than the Monthly plan (-69% discount).

If you’re determined to opt for PIA, we recommend going for the two-year plan, as it makes the most sense financially.

Apart from these 3 plans, PIA offers VPN for businesses, with rich features such as admin portals and single-sign on with G-Suite.

Private Internet Access provides seven-day money back guarantee, allowing you to try out their service for a week, claiming your money back if you’re not satisfied. As a result, there is no free trial.

On a side note, it seems PIA is following NordVPN’s footsteps in using a countdown timer. This is a psychological tactic to trigger a FOMO response. At the same time, this is the real deal since it’s the lowest price offered. PIA does not really do promotions.

PIA keeps changing their prices around and it’s a little sad to see a bump in the prices. We should remember that they’re a business and price changes seemed to be long overdue. If you’re scared of another price increase, you’d better sign up now while it’s this cheap!

Payment Methods: You can pay with just about anything!

When it comes to paying, PIA accepts all kinds of payment methods. You can pay with a Credit Card, PayPal, Amazon Pay, or MINT, Beam, and WebMoney.

A big bonus to PIA’s payment options is the ability to pay anonymously with many major brand gift cards like Walmart, Best Buy or Starbucks.

The cherry on the top? You can also pay with cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Zcash, Ether, Litecoin, etc.).

Apart from payments being completely anonymous, you’ll receive instant access and 100% security.

Refund Policy: Fast & reliable within 7 days (confirmed)

If you’re not 100% satisfied with PIA VPN, you can get your money back.

We tested this ourselves, just check out how we did it:

If you have any doubts (or are scared) about how to word your refund request, just follow our email word-for-word.

As you can see in the email log, the whole process took less than 12 hours. They got back to us with a confirmation of the refund request within an hour.

Although they didn’t delete the account as requested, they did remove the payment information and the account is no longer active:

All the best VPN companies have a fast and reliable refund system. Private Internet Access is one of them.

Device Compatibility: How would you like to access your VPN?

PIA lets you use their service on up to five devices simultaneously.

You can use Private Internet Access for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and others.

PIA also pushes for updates and changes. One recent UI changes they’ve made are shown below for the new Windows version.

This ensures your app will keep up with the latest trends and more. You won’t feel like your VPN is dated and there are some nice features you will enjoy.

On a side note: Finally! A dark version so we aren’t blinded by the PIA VPN client every time we open it.

Sign Up Process: Easy and anonymous

As mentioned before, PIA pushes for anonymity with features like crypto payments and giftcards. You can even use a fake name if you wish. This means that the level of personal identification is entirely up to you – a choice we love to see offered.

They’ll randomly generate a username for you if you wish. This definitely helps avoid any links to your other online profiles–handy!

Once you complete your payment, you can move to the download area and choose suitable software for your needs and particular devices.

Apart from PIA being available for almost any platform, you can also use third-party software such as OpenVPN GUI, OpenVPN Connect (iOS), or OpenVPN for Android in the download process.

There are 6 simple steps for installing and connecting to PIA VPN:

  1. Download and open
  2. Select “Yes”
  3. Follow the installation steps
  4. Launch / Select “Finish”
  5. Enter your login credentials (received in your email)
  6. Connect

Paying with crypto is more convenient and quite anonymous. You can always buy cryptocurrencies OTC and your identity is not linked with a wallet. Gift cards work the same way if you buy them with cash.


Customer Support: Limited live chat hours

Most well-renowned VPN services offer 24/7 live chat support.

This, however, isn’t the case with Private Internet Access. In fact, they only relied on a ticket system for some time.

In 2018 PIA implemented a live chat system and finalized the rollout in early 2019. They now have live chat but only from 9 am to 6 pm MST.

The lack of immediate customer support is still the main disadvantage of PIA’s service.

Be that as it may, PIA compensates for its lack of on-demand support with an above-average FAQ, blog, and website in general. The knowledge base of PIA is compiled with lots of practical articles, information based on the most common customer’s questions. The FAQ is organized into 5 different sections, making it easy to get around and find the answers to your issues.

We tested the ticketing system ourselves, and our experience is as follows:

After filling out the contact form, we received an automated response via email. The message told us that the ticket had been received and would be reviewed shortly by a support agent. A few hours later, we got our response.

With all this in mind, we would not rank PIA’s customer service very high. While Private Internet Access advertises 24/7 support, this is far from true.

The likely hood of you needing to contact customer support is quite slim, though. PIA is a fantastic product and works out of the box. We only contacted them to test the response times and to test the refund system (which went through quite fast).

What Do PIA Customers Think?

Some people on Twitter have been using PIA for some years and reports zero issues:

And on Reddit, PIA is one of the most favorited VPNs due to its court-proven no log policy.

PIA As A Business

Like other well-performing VPN companies, there isn’t much known about PIA.

We do know that PIA’s parent company, Londont Trust Media, Inc. is one of the key players in the technology industry. Their portfolio consists of Private Internet Access, IRC, Linux Journal, and BlockExplorer.

PIA also loves some controversy. They hired the ex-CEO of the infamous hacked Bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox as CTO of London Trust Media.

There’s some real human element to this story: the co-founder and chairman of London Trust Media, Andrew Lee, believes in mistakes (and learning from them), forgiveness and progressing forward. That’s the type of leadership PIA is running under. He believes that in order to win the war, people must learn to forgive and move forward.

If we, as a society, do not give second chances to those who fall, then we as a society will cease to progress. It will have a detrimental chilling effect. I’ve been blessed with the ability to live out my vision of this world, and as many of you know, it has been reflected in the absolute position we, as a company, have taken in our philosophies. Privacy. Community. Transparency. Self Defense. We’re really all about power to the people.

And so the question is, does giving someone who led the way in the earliest days of Bitcoin with the roughest of early day hacks, arguably, helping cryptocurrency get to where it is today, a second chance, bring power to the people?

I strongly believe it does. And, I encourage every company in the cypherpunk space to do the same. The battle will be rough. There will be great successes and great failures. But, in the end, I am confident we will create a world which we all love living in.

Also, a little known fact: Andrew Lee (the same co-founder and chairman of LTM) is a crown prince of the Imperial Family of Korea. Meaning he has some royalty in him!

Conclusion – Highly Recommended

All in all, Private Internet Access is a strong VPN, and a worthy of being considered one of the best VPN services available.

Although it has its drawbacks and disadvantages—namely the US jurisdiction and weak customer support—the features it offers are worth the competitively low asking price.

Remember, while Private Internet Access offers strong security features, it’s ultimately up to you to decide what’s most important to you. PIA was mainly designed to protect its users and provide them with a secure VPN tunnel with extra powerful encryption protocols.

The court-proven no logging policy is something that few other VPN services can boast about, which ranks Private Internet Access (London Trust Media, Inc) considerably higher in terms of security.

With its wide array of servers around the world and ability to bypass Netflix or BBC iPlayer region blocking, Private Internet Access VPN is a top-tier pick, without a doubt. The service they provide is definitely worth considering. We highly recommend this VPN.

Remember, PIA also offers a 7-day money back guarantee, so you’re free to give its service a try risk-free and find out for yourself whether it’s the VPN for you:


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