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PIA vs NordVPN comparison in 2023


Technological breakthroughs have revolutionized the digital world, yet on its downside, it has put online privacy at risk. However, using VPN, you can conceal your IP address and preserve your online data, including personal information.

If you are concerned about privacy and struggle to choose the best VPN, this PIA vs NordVPN comparison guide is for you. Both VPNs are giant service providers in the industry since they provide high-speed encrypted internet access, robust security packages, and much more.

In this comparison, we’ll review how these VPN providers stack up regarding server performance, speed tests, plans and pricing, security and privacy, and much more.

PIA vs NordVPN: which VPN is the winner?

If you are short on time and want to check out the highlights of these best VPNs, let’s have a look below:

  • The NordLynx protocol of NordVPN sets it apart from its competitors.
  • NordVPN is incredibly secure and loaded with advanced privacy features.
  • You can unblock many streaming sites with NordVPN.
  • The customer service of NordVPN and PIA is exceptional.
  • Both VPNs have many servers.
  • PIA gets an edge over NordVPN in pricing and plans.

PIA vs NordVPN: general comparison

NordVPNPrivate Internet Access
⭐ Rating:
🥇 Overall rank:#1 out of #32#13 out of #32
🖥️ Servers:5800+ servers in 60 countries30000+ servers in 78 countries
📖 No logs policy:Independently-auditedCourt-proven
💵 Pricing:From $3.19/monthFrom $2.03/month
🔥 Coupons:NordVPN coupon 68% OFFPIA now 83% off
🔒 VPN protocols:NordLynx, OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSecWireguard, OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec
🍿 Streaming services:Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and moreNetflix, YouTube, Hulu
🖥️ Platforms:Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV StickWindows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS,
📥 Simultaneous connections:610
💁🏻 Support:24/7 live chatLive chat

Servers and performance

VPN performance is undeniably its most critical aspect. Speed, like security and other features, can easily make or break any VPN. If you use a fast VPN, you can surf the web as if you weren't using a VPN at all, while you would be experiencing dial-up speeds with a crumby VPN.

To ensure stable and fast connectivity, a VPN should have a sufficient amount of reliable servers. Based on our tests and analysis, NordVPN has better download and upload speeds and better support for streaming on all servers than PIA.

Server specifications

Features NordVPNPIA
WireGuard (NordLynx), OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsecWireguard, OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPsec
DNSPrivate Private

Both NordVPN and PIA are famous for their security features. Moreover, PIA offers WireGuard, a tunneling protocol that ensures security and fast speeds. With NordVPN, you can encrypt your data twice since it offers double VPN servers in certain locations.

Furthermore, NordVPN has NordLynx (an improved version of the WireGuard), which gives it an edge over PIA. Not to mention, Plus, it offers specialized servers, like Double VPN, Onion over VPN, obfuscated and specialized P2P servers.

Download speed

United States864 Mbps65 Mbps
United Kingdom 1,361 Mbps65 Mbps
Germany1,427 Mbps88 Mbps
Australia 61.89 Mbps42.46 Mbps
Japan72.69 Mbps 49.78 Mbps

Since both NordVPN and PIA use similar tunneling protocols, they have fast speeds. However, NordVPN leads in speed tests using a proprietary and improved protocol version called NordLynx. This is the advantage the Panama-based VPN service relies on to consistently rank at the top of our VPN speed tests and other comparisons.

Upload speed

United States720 Mbps
68 Mbps
United Kingdom 1,183 Mbps
105 Mbps
Germany1,245 Mbps
148 Mbps
Australia 12.18 Mbps
8.64 Mbps
Japan6.96 Mbps
10.84 Mbps

NordVPN offers consistently fast upload speeds, while PIA loses a substantial percentage of its unprotected speeds. NordVPN has almost lossless connection speeds on nearby servers, so it edges ahead for upload speed.

VPN plans and pricing

Plan NordVPN PIA
Free trial7-day trial on the Google Play StoreN/A
Monthly $12.99$11.95
Six monthsN/A$7.50/month
One year$4.99/month$3.33/month
Two years$3.49/month$2.19/month
Three yearsN/A$2.03/month
Money-back guarantee30 days 30 days

PIA is more affordable than NordVPN. If you want to sign up for the lengthiest VPN plan, Private Internet Access offers a three-year subscription, which is less expensive than NordVPN’s two years plan.

What’s more, both VPNs offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. Another common thing between the two VPNs is the optional features allowing users to avail of more than just basic VPN benefits. You have to pay extra to enjoy optional perks. However, it’s worth noting that NordVPN has a free trial and offers many payment options. Still, regarding affordability, NordVPN fails to steal a win from Private Internet Access. So, PIA is a winner.

PIA vs NordVPN: security and privacy

Encryption AES-256 or ChaCha20Poly1305AES-128 or AES-256
Hash SHA-512SHA1 and SHA2
Jurisdiction PanamaUnited States
Member of the Five Eyes AllianceNo Yes
LoggingIndependently-audited no-logs policyCourt-proven and independently-audited
RAM-only serversYesYes
Leak protectionDNS, IPv6, WebRTCDNS, IPv6, WebRTC
Kill switch2 kill switchesYes

Regarding security, both VPNs are secure and use AES encryption. You can select between AES-128-CBC with SHA-1 (the default setting) and AES-256-CBC with SHA-256 (the more secure encryption) when using Private Internet Access.

AES-256-CBC with SHA-512 hash function is available with NordVPN, which is virtually uncrackable by the latest computers. That’s why NordVPN offers more security than the opponent PIA.


The infrastructure of your VPN matters a lot since the server network needs to stand on a solid foundation. Both VPNs have RAM-only servers, which are virtual hard drives to store user data.

The servers make logs by design as part of their working operation, but when they reboot, they lose the data.


Based in Panama, a privacy-friendly location, NordVPN does not lie in the range of the global surveillance alliance. It has no leverage against Panama and is free from data retention laws.

Conversely, PIA hails from the United States, a country that is known for collecting citizens' data. Not to mention USA is a part of Fourteen Eyes alliance. However, PIA negates all the dangers with an audited no-logs policy and RAM-only servers.


Deloitte's auditing firm has audited PIA’s no-logging policy. Its privacy policy clearly states that it does not gather activity logs. Even in courts, it has proved its zero-logs policy.

NordVPN also claims it does not collect any user data. Multiple independent audits conducted by PwC and Deloitte proved its claim of a no-logging policy.

VPN streaming performance

Streaming platformsNordVPN PIA
Amazon Prime Video
BBC iPlayer

No matter which streaming site you want to access, NordVPN is phenomenal for unblocking almost all popular streaming services. You can access the USA and other Netflix libraries using NordVPN. However, for PIA, it's a hard nut to crack. PIA allows you to access the Netflix library of the US and Netherlands, but it shows videos with poor quality and works quite slowly.

Although PIA manages to unblock some sites, such as YouTube, it still does not allow you to access HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, and other streaming sites.

Since both VPNs utilize fast tunneling protocols, you can enjoy lag-free streaming and top-notch connection quality. However, as a whole, NordVPN is the winner since it virtually unblocks all streaming sites.


Torrenting FeaturesNordVPN PIA

Fast speeds
Unlimited bandwidth
Safe jurisdiction

NordVPN and PIA are P2P-compatible, allowing you to access and download any torrent files you want.

It doesn't matter which server you connect to, as PIA does not have specialized torrent servers. Nevertheless, NordVPN has separate servers designed explicitly for torrenting. For online activities, you can actually use any server; however, if P2P activity is detected, you will automatically be redirected to a P2P server.

Besides, NordVPN has obfuscation technology, offering a secure torrenting experience. Meanwhile, PIA supports port forwarding, which is the advanced torrenting settings. So, it significantly improves downloading speed of torrent files and allows you to connect to more people simultaneously.

So, when it comes to torrenting, both VPNs work great. While PIA has more servers and port forwarding, NordVPN has dedicated servers and obfuscated servers. Therefore, this round is a tie.

VPN interface and setup

Supported OSWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
Other software and devicesKodi, Android TVs, Fire devicesKodi, Android TVs, Fire devices
Usability levelEasy to useEasy to use
Browser extensionsChrome, Firefox, Edge, Brave, OperaChrome, Firefox, Edge, Brave, Opera
Simultaneous connections6

From Windows to Android and Linux, you’ll find both PIA and NordVPN compatible with multi-platforms and browsers. Moreover, both VPN providers have apps for almost all devices.

If you haven't used a VPN before, don’t worry; both VPNs have an easy-to-use interface anyone can use without any hassle.

PIA gains a slight edge over NordVPN as it allows unlimited simultaneous connections, while NordVPN does not permit all devices to connect simultaneously. You can only connect 6 devices with NordVPN.

Desktop apps review

After several updates, the NordVPN desktop app still has the same underlying idea but with an improved interface. It includes a clickable world map in the center which shows you the IP address you are connected to.

NorVPN Netherlands

Alternatively, you can use the country sidebar to navigate the specific region. If you want to find a specific region, enter its name in the top left corner search bar.

Moreover, add a hashtag with the country’s name to search specific servers. Overall, you’ll enjoy a great experience while using the Desktop app.

Desktop apps of PIA prioritize minimalism. You can find almost all the information about encryption, connections, authentication cipher, and much more.

Mobile apps review

Just like desktop apps, both PIA and NordVPN have impressive mobile apps, and there won't be a big difference between them. NordVPN mobile app shows its map-loving trend, allowing you to search for countries and specialty servers. Moreover, it has several tabs for settings such as split tunneling, Meshnet, and Threat Protection Lite.

Moving on, half of the mobile app screen of PIA is occupied by the ON button.

PIA mobile app

Furthermore, in its top left corner is a hamburger menu that displays settings options for PIA.

Customer support quality

24/7 live chat
Phone line
Guides or articles

When it comes to resolving queries of customers, both VPNs offer multiple assistance options to cater to their customers’ needs. Besides email and live chat support, they provide you with FAQs and written self-help guides.

While the customer support of both services is excellent, NordVPN has well-trained agents and gives you a more pleasant experience. The response time of the customer support team of PIA is relatively slow, so we make NordVPN a winner for their quick and efficient customer support.

Wrapping up – which VPN wins?





Customer support

Overall, both services are the cream of the VPN industry. The privacy-friendly location, NordLynx, and the ability to unblock almost all major streaming sites have made NordVPN more secure, fast performing, and the first choice of customers for streaming, respectively.

We concluded our NordVPN vs PIA comparison with NordVPN winning in all categories. However, when it comes to servers, ease of use, and torrenting, PIA is on-par with NordVPN. Yet, it fails to surpass NordVPN except in price and plans.



prefix 3 years ago
I don’t agree with thatguywiththesketches. The mere fact PIA got acquired by another company is no proof of it being bad somehow. I don’t know nothing about NordVPN because I never used it, but I can attest to the commendable level of quality of PIA.
prefix 3 years ago
Absolutely agree with everything you wrote. I also really dislike the fact PIA got merged with Kape. I’m against such mergers as they stray awfully close to monopolization.
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