NordVPN vs Private Internet Access (PIA)
- 1 NordVPN vs Private Internet Access (PIA)
- 1.1 Summary Video
- 1.2 Summary Chart
- 1.3 Customer Service
- 1.4 Pricing
- 1.5 Payment
- 1.6 Privacy
- 1.7 Speed Tests
- 1.8 IP Locations
- 1.9 Platform’s Supported
- 1.10 DNS Leak Test
- 1.11 Conclusion
- 1.12 Recommendation
|NordVPN||Private Internet Access (PIA)|
|Customer Service||Live Chat, Email,Q and A Forums Facebook, Twitter||Limited Chat Support
Large DIY library for support
|Pricing||Monthly – $11.95
Six Months – $7.00 Monthly Rate Billed $42.00 every six months
Annual – $5.75 Monthly Rate
Billed Annually – $69.00
Bi-Annually – $4.00 Monthly Rate
Billed Bi-Annually – $96.00
30 Day Money-back Guarantee
3 Day Free Trial
|Monthly – $6.95
Six Months – $5.99 Monthly Rate Billed $35.95 every six months
Annual – $3.33 Monthly Rate
Billed annually – $39.95/year.
7 Day Money Back Guarantee
And 8 others
In-store Gift Cards
And 6 Others
|Privacy||Server Locations – 951
Countries – 57
Protocols – PPTP, OpenVPN, L2TP, IPSec and IKEv2/IPsec
Encryption – 256 bit AES
Server Types – Double VPN, Onion Over VPN, Ultra Fast TV, Anti-DDOS, Dedicated IP Servers, Standard Servers, P2P
|Servers – 3252
Countries – 25
Protocols – PPTP, OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec
Encryption – HMAC using Secure Hash Algorithm (256-bit).
|Speed||Average Download Speed – 7.73Mb/sec
Average Upload Speed – 1.20Mb/sec
|Average Download Speed – 6.31Mb/sec
Average Upload Speed – 1.08Mb/sec
|IP Locations||Hid Original IP, But one server showed multiple locations||Hid original IP, but some servers showed multiple locations|
|DNS Leak Test||3 different websites tested no leaks found.||3 different websites tested no leaks|
NordVPN and PIA offer two different levels of customer service. NordVPN offers a real time chat option that can be accessed anytime of day or night, an email ticket service, a forum area where questions are asked and answered and social media options for customer support. Customers can submit requests for help or questions through the Facebook page (here) or their twitter page (here). PIA access offers a email forum where questions can be asked. They also offer a compendium of Q and A forums where a subscriber can sift through and look for answers to their questions.
So, because NordVPN offers more options to contact there time customer service teams and a more timely response with their real time chat options that outperform PIA.
PIA offers a significant savings when compared with NordVPN. Both of them offer monthly, semi-annually and annual contract plans. NordVPN offers a bi-annual plan that isn’t offered by PIA. PIA’s month to month price is 42% cheaper than the same option offered by NordVPN. NordVPN closes the gap significantly when we compare the two VPN services semi-annual payment plans, but it is still 6% more expensive than PIA. The prices again diverge to a 42% difference when comparing the annual plans with NordVPN being that much more expensive than PIA. Since, PIA doesn’t offer a bi-annual payment option, I took their annual rate and compared it against NordVPN’s bi-annual rate and PIA still comes out as the cheaper option. They are 17% cheaper than NordVPN.
In addition to this NordVPN offer’s a 30 day money-back guarantee, whereas PIA offers a 7 day money back guarantee. NordVPN also offers a 3 day free trial with no strings attached. You have to set up an account, but you don’t have to give any payment information for the free trial.
NordVPN has a better money back trial period than PIA does, but this pales in comparison to the significant saving that PIA offers in comparison to NordVPN. And since one of the the biggest factors in choosing to buy a good or service is the price, PIA beats out NordVPN in the price comparison.
NordVPN and PIA both accept all major credit cards (MasterCard, VISA and American Express), as well as PayPal and Bitcoin. In addition to this the two VPN’s offer a few different alternative payment options in order to facilitate the payment for their services. Both of them offer the ability to purchase gift cards from retail outlets to pay for their service. This gives the added benefit of anonymity because you can’t track the gift cards. It is one more layer of privacy that can be used. One of the disadvantages in using the gift cards to pay is that you don’t have an automatic recurring bill payment, so you would have to go in and add the payments every time that it is time for a renewal. Both PIA and NordVPN offer similar amounts of alternative payment options. NordVPN offers a referral based program that does differentiate itself from PIA. So if you can get your friends or family and they use your referral code you can earn credit towards your next billing cycle so it is possible to reduce your renewal cost to zero.
In light of this referral program that NordVPN as compared to a PIA that doesn’t have a referral and that both VPN’s offer similar payment options in similar numbers, NordVPN ranks slightly better than PIA.
NordVPN and PIA offer many countries and server locations to choose from. NordVPN has 951 server locations in 57 countries vs PIA’s 3252 server locations in 25 countries. So here the real difference lies between the number of server locations and the number of countries each VPN is present in. PIA has multiple times more server locations, is only in about 44% of the countries that NordVPN is in.
Both services offer 256bit encryption NordVPN uses AES whereas, PIA uses HMAC using Secure Hash Algorithm. Both PIA and NordVPN use the following protocols: PPTP, OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec. NordVPN also uses the additional protocol: IKEv2/IPsec.
Where the real distinction lies between the two services is with NordVPN’s multiple different servers types. They have the following different server types: Double VPN, Onion Over VPN, Ultra Fast TV, Anti-DDOS, Dedicated IP Servers, Standard Servers and P2P. This gives the consumer a whole host of different options when it comes to how they want to protect their privacy or what they want to use the VPN service for. With all of this available this gives NordVPN the upper hand when it comes to a privacy comparison.
Below we have a side by side comparison of NordVPN and PIA’s speed tests that were completed.
Between NordVPN and PIA there is a large difference in the actual download speeds. I am not certain why that is. But since this is something that I cannot control I will not be looking at this. I am going to be looking at the differences between download and upload speeds before and after the two VPN services were launched.
Before VPN Activation
NordVPN and PIA were both compared using the following three websites: www.speedtest.org, www.speedtest.net and www.speakeasy.net/speedtest. NordVPN had an average download speed of 7.73Mb/s and average upload speed of 1.20Mb/s where as PIA had an average download speed of 6.90Mb/s and an average upload speed of 1.15Mb/s.
After VPN Activation
NordVPN’s average download speed decreased to 7.51Mb/s and average upload speed decreased to 1.19Mb/s. NordVPN had a download speed difference of 0.22Mb/s and an upload speed difference of 0.01Mb/s. PIA’s average download speed was reduced to 6.31Mb/s and their upload speed was reduced to 1.08Mb/s. PIA here had a download speed differential of 0.59Mb/s and an upload speed difference of 0.07Mb/s
NordVPN comes out with a an advantage over PIA. The reduction in download speeds was less for NordVPN vs PIA and the upload speed difference was small but favored NordVPN. This gives NordVPN the advantage here.
NordVPN and PIA performed similarly well when we were comparing the IP Location testing. Both services hid my original location, but had a small issue when it came to consistently broadcasting the same servers. With NordVPN when I selected an Australian server it came back with one of the sites saying that we were broadcasting from the United Kingdom. And with PIA when we selected a server in California it showed that we had one website that was broadcasting from Florida. When doing the initial test on this from both VPN’s we checked and tested multiple server locations around the globe. I tried to hit one in the western hemisphere, eastern hemisphere, northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere. So, in light of these issues, neither NordVPN or PIA has an advantage over the other. They both performed similarly here.
PIA and NordVPN support the main platform’s. They both support Windows, iOS, Linux, Android and MacOS. Where they differ is NordVPN offers additional support to Blackberry users. So, there is a slight difference here with NordVPN offering an additional platform support to Blackberry users so, NordVPN has a slight edge over PIA when it comes to platforms supported.
DNS Leak Test
Below we have a side by side comparison of NordVPN and PIA’s speed DNS leak tests that were completed. I used three websites different sites to see how much of a leak occurred before the VPN’s were turned on and after they were turned on. I used the following three sites: www.dnsleaktest.com, www.dnsleak.com and www.dns-leak.com.
Before VPN Activation
Before either PIA or NordVPN was launched they both showed there they had a DNS leak’s occurring as would be expected. www.dnsleak.com showed five servers showing for NordVPN and only three showing for PIA, so a difference was noted here, but both still showed DNS leaks. The other two sites showed the same number of server being displayed.
After VPN Activation
PIA and NordVPN both showed no leaks and only one server being detected. Both of the VPN’s did exactly what they claim to do. They are hiding your true location with no DNS leaks being broadcast.
There was no difference here, both PIA and NordVPN showed only one server being broadcast. So this one here is a tie. Neither one preformed better than the other.
NordVPN outperformed PIA in terms of their superior customer service, payment options, privacy setting and standards, in the speed tests and for platform’s supported. PIA was considerably better than NordVPN in pricing was involved. And for the DNS Leak tests and IP locations test both VPN’s faired similarly. While NordVPN did outperform PIA in most of the categories I should note that they were only slightly better than PIA in the following categories: payment options, speed tests and platform’s supported. So, while it looks like NordVPN handily outperformed PIA, the three aforementioned categories were only slightly in favor of NordVPN.