PureVPN vs Private Internet Access (PIA)

PureVPN vs Private Internet Access (PIA)

Executive Summary

Here we had PureVPN and Private Internet Access (PIA) performing similarly when we tested the speeds and the WebRTC for leaks. Both had little reduction in speed and underperformed when testing for WebRTC leaks. They both leaked the IPv6 locations. PureVPN outclassed PIA in customer service, privacy metrics, payment options and platforms supported. PIA gained the upper hand on pricing, DNS leak test and IP location tests. PureVPN did better in four categories compared to PIA’s better performance in three categories. In spite of this we are giving the recommendation to PIA because it outperformed PureVPN in some of the most important categories. PureVPN utterly failed the DNS leak test and performed poorly in the IP location test. Pricing is also a very important consideration, with PIA’s much better than PureVPN’s. So for these reasons we are recommending PIA over PureVPN.


To Purchase Private Internet Access click here.

Summary Video

PureVPN Private Internet Access (PIA)
Customer Service Live Chat, Email,Q and A Forums Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, YouTube Limited Chat Support

Large DIY library for support

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter

Pricing Monthly – $10.95

Six Months – $8.95 Monthly

Rate Billed $53.70 every six months

Annual – $5.99 Monthly Rate

Billed Annually – $71.88

Bi-Annually – $3.25 Monthly Rate

Billed Bi-Annually – $78.00

7 Day Money-back Guarantee

3 Day Non-refundable Trial Option for $2.50

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.

Bi Annually – $2.91 Monthly Rate

Billed Bi-Annually – $69.95

7 Day Money Back Guarantee

Payment Visa


American Express



And 47 others



American Express



In-store Gift Cards

And 6 Others

Privacy Encryption – AES 256 bit

Internet Kill Switch – Yes

Jurisdiction – Hong Kong

Logging Information – Does not keep logs

Protocols – PPTP, L2TP, IKEv2, SSTP, OpenVPN-DUP and OpenVPN-TCP

Server Locations – 750

Countries – 141

Unique IP Locations – >88,000

Encryption – AES 256 bit

Internet Kill Switch – Yes

Jurisdiction – United States of America

Logging Information – Does Not keep logs

Protocols – PPTP, OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec

Server Locations– 3115

Countries – 25

Platform’s Supported Windows





Many other options as well






DNS Leak Test 3 different websites tested, leaks found on each website. 3 different websites tested no leaks
IP Locations Hid original IP, But three servers showed multiple locations Hid original IP, but some servers showed multiple locations
Speed Average Download Speed – 7.44Mb/sec

Average Upload Speed – 0.93Mb/sec

Average Download Speed – 6.31Mb/sec

Average Upload Speed – 1.08Mb/sec

WebRTC Leaks Leaked Ipv6 address

Didn’t leak Public IP Address

Leaked Ipv6 address

Didn’t leak Public IP Address

Customer Service

PureVPN offers a live chat option, which is the most desirable feature in receiving fast customer service. It also offer contacts via social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook. If you want to go the old-fashioned way with email or Q and A forums, these are also available. I found that the Q and A forums were a little difficult to locate. Private Internet Access (PIA) had fewer options to get access to the customer service team. It did not have a live chat option but had a contact form which sends their team an email. They are available on Facebook. Their Facebook messenger said the average response time is usually a few hours. I found they gave me a very timely response with their contact form — less than 10 minutes — and I sent the information late on a weekend evening, so not exactly prime time hours. Where PIA surpassed PureVPN was on its Q and A forums. You can enter in a search phrase and it gives a large number of results back for your query. Overall, though, I would have to give PureVPN the better ranking here because of its live chat option, which gives you timely access to their team with a quick response.


Here we are looking at different money-back and pricing options for the different plans that PIA and PureVPN have. PureVPN and PIA compare similarly with money-back guarantees. They both have seven-day money-back guarantees. PureVPN offers a three-day, non-refundable trial period for $2.50. When we look at pricing PIA beats out PureVPN in every comparison here. On a monthly basis PIA is 36.5% cheaper than PureVPN, on a semi-annual basis PIA is 33.1% cheaper, annually PIA is 44.4% cheaper and, finally, bi-annually PIA is 10.5% cheaper. PIA is either moderately or very significantly cheaper then PureVPN, thus giving PIA the edge in one of the more significant categories.

To learn more about PureVPN click here.

To learn more about Private Internet Access click here.


PureVPN and PIA both accept the standard five payment options: MasterCard, VISA, American Express, Paypal and Bitcoin. Where they have a bit of a difference is in the secondary payment options that are available. PureVPN has 47 secondary or alternate payment options in addition to the standard five that we have already discussed. PIA has only six secondary or alternate payment options. What I liked about both of these companies is that you are able to pay using store gift cards. You could buy a Target gift card, for instance, and then use that to purchase your VPN service. One consideration to be aware of is that you may not be eligible for their refund policies so be sure to check with either PureVPN or PIA before purchasing if you are going to use this option. PureVPN fares better here because of its plethora of secondary payment options available.


Here we are looking at quite a few different metrics to ensure our privacy. We are looking at the level of encryption, the inclusion of an internet kill switch, jurisdiction, logging information, protocols, server locations and countries where servers are located.

There were a number of areas where the two VPN services were tied. They both use the industry standard AES 256-bit encryption, they both have an internet kill switch and keep no logging information. While they are in different jurisdictions (PureVPN is in Hong Kong and PIA is in the U.S.), no one has the upper hand here as both jurisdictions are not known for their privacy-friendly laws. The U.S. is part of the Five Eyes group of countries and Hong Kong — while technically separate from China — is still under their eyes.

PureVPN has the edge in the number of protocols that they support with six versus PIA’s three. PureVPN is also located in about eight times as many countries as PIA. PIA has over four times as many servers available for use in its network though.

Here I have to give the ever-so-slightest advantage to PureVPN because of the number of countries it is located in and the larger number of protocols it uses versus PIA’s greater number of servers. In every other category the two services rated the same.

Platforms Supported

PureVPN and PIA both offer support for the main five platforms. They are available for iOS, Windows, Mac, Android and Linux. PureVPN offers a huge number of alternative options for platforms supported as well. A complete listing of its platforms can be found here. PureVPN and PIA both have the same number of platforms being supported for the main five, but because PureVPN has such an extensive list of secondary supported platforms it receives the edge here.

DNS Leak Test

We used the following three sites to determine if we were having a DNS Leak or not: www.dnsleaktest.com, www.dnsleak.com and www.dns-leak.com.

Before VPN Activation

As would be expected, when we were comparing PureVPN and PIA before they were launched both of them were showing DNS leaks. Each of them have a number of servers being detected. PureVPN ranged from four to six and PIA ranged from three to four.

After VPN Activation

Here PIA crushed PureVPN. PIA had no leaks from any of the three websites that were checked. It only showed one server being detected. Whereas with PureVPN, two of the three websites actually showed an increase in the number of servers being detected. This is the opposite of what one would expect.


PIA blew PureVPN out of the water here. It had no DNS leaks, whereas PureVPN actually had an increase in DNS leaks after its service was launched. So, since PIA was showing no leaks anywhere we have to give it the upper hand here.

IP Locations

PureVPN and PIA both were tested using various servers available on their networks. In both cases we chose four different locations across the globe to test to see if they were broadcasting from the servers that we selected or if they had different servers showing up. We used the website www.iplocation.net for our testing. This is an aggregate website that pulls locations from five other websites to check and compare IP locations. For PureVPN we chose servers in Vancouver, Canada; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; Buenos Aires, Argentina and Warsaw, Poland. For PIA we chose servers in Montreal, Canada, Turkey, New Zealand and California, USA. Both VPNs hid our original location, however three of the four locations chosen with PureVPN showed alternate locations: Vancouver, Canada had one website showing a location in Houston, Texas. The other two server locations showed results from locations in the USA as well. PIA performed better by only having one server location broadcasting a different location than what was selected. This was in California where it showed a location coming from Florida. Here we have PIA performing better than PureVPN. This is shown by PIA only having one alternate server location compared to PureVPN’s three.

To learn more about PureVPN click here.

To learn more about Private Internet Access click here.

Speed Tests

Here was a list of four different websites we used to do the speed tests: www.speedtest.net, www.speedtest.org, www.speedof.me and www.speakeasy.com/speedtest. We looked at the download and upload speeds of our internet before we launched both PureVPN and PIA. Then we did a test after each of the VPNs had been turned on. We wanted to see how much of a reduction turning on the VPNs would have on our download and upload speed.

Before VPN Activation

Here PureVPN showed an average download speed of 7.83Mb/sec and PIA showed an average download speed of 6.90Mb/sec. PureVPN showed an average upload speed of 0.96Mb/sec and PIA showed an average download speed of 1.15Mb/sec.

After VPN Activation

Once both of the services were turned on we retested the download and upload speeds and we are looking at the difference between them for both services. We want to evaluate how much the two services decrease the speeds available for downloads and uploads.


PureVPN had a decrease of 0.39Mb/sec in its download speed and decrease of 0.03Mb/sec for the upload speeds. This compares against PIA’s reduction of 0.59Mb/sec in its download speeds and a 0.07Mb/sec decrease in its upload speeds. PureVPN had a slightly smaller reduction in speeds than PIA, but since both were so small and there is no appreciable difference between the two VPNs we are going to call this one a draw.

WebRTC Test

We used three different web pages to check and see if we had a WebRTC leak or not. We used www.ipleak.net, www.browserleaks.com/webrtc and www.whatismyipaddress.com/webrtc-test.

Before VPN Activation

We tested each of the websites before the VPNs were launched and as would be expected we were shown the real location for the Local IP address, Public IP address and the IPv6 address on all three websites.

After VPN Activation

PureVPN and PIA both had some success with the prevention of the WebRTC leak after they were engaged, but where they both failed was in preventing the display of the IPv6 addresses. On all three websites they displayed the IPv6 address.


Here we have a dead heat. There is no difference in protection from the three websites.


Here we have PureVPN and PIA providing similar performances when we compared their speed test and WebRTC leak tests. PureVPN performed better than PIA when comparing customer service, payment options, privacy metrics and platforms supported. PIA had a stronger performance when comparing pricing, DNS leak tests and IP locations. Things to be considered: PureVPN outperforms PIA in more metrics, but it really falls down on the privacy aspects: it completely failed the DNS leak test and had sub par performances in the IP location and WebRTC tests. PIA had a poor performance with the WebRTC leak test.

To Purchase Private Internet Access click here.

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