In today’s article, we want to make your job easy for you by providing you with a comparison of two prominent VPNs— NordVPN vs PIA, which are both very popular amongst VPN users.
NordVPN vs PIA Comparison 2023
Virtual Private Networks have risen in popularity in the last few years.
People worldwide are on a mission to hunt down the best VPN and make use of all its features and functionality.
However, finding the best VPN in the current market can be difficult. This is because there are a plethora of VPNs to choose from.
To do this, we need to formulate a few ground rules.
Since we are discussing VPNs, its speed, security features, real-life performance, and price make it unique or stand out.
For this NordVPN vs PIA comparison, we have decided to pick these elements and make them the benchmarks for providing valuable information regarding both these VPNs.
We will discuss both VPNs one by one and highlight the elements mentioned above in both of them one after the other.
This will give us a better grasp of the two VPNs and will allow us to deduce which VPN service is best overall.
NordVPN is one of the best VPNs in the market right now.
Comparing it with other VPNs suggests that the other VPN must have some fantastic features to compete with NordVPN.
Forget the fact that it is based in Panama and doesn’t have to participate in numerous intelligence alliances, which add extra security to your data.
Forget the fact that it has over five thousand servers in sixty-five countries that provide high-speed internet connectivity— the security features on this VPN alone are worth its price.
Let’s look at what it offers in terms of security to know how NordVPN performs in our first benchmark.
- NordVPN is the industry leader (by a long way)
- 30-day risk-free trial
- Superfast speeds
- 5,442+ servers in 60+ countries
- Strict no-logs policy
- Next-generation military-grade encryption
- DoubleVPN, double privacy
- 6 simultaneous device connections
- Great for: Safety, security, anonymity & peace of mind
- Compatible with: Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone, iPad & iOS, Linux, routers, Apple TV, FireFox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and more
Having formidable security features is essential for any application that claims to function as a Virtual Private Network.
This is because a person would use a VPN to protect their data and IP address from malicious hackers and government security.
If you are planning to use a VPN, that means that you either want to unlock something that is restricted in your location, or you want to be able to access content that is available in different locations but not in yours.
A VPN can quickly help you achieve that with the click of a button, depending on which VPN you are using.
Committing these actions leaves you prone and susceptible to government security alliances that are put in place to monitor online traffic.
They may not like what you are doing and may track your online activity. This leaves you vulnerable to any charges they may want to put on you.
In these cases, having a reliable VPN with robust security features is always good.
Firstly, NordVPN offers you six simultaneous connections while other VPN services offer you only five. NordVPN also offers you the ability to choose a Static IP address.
The idea behind this feature is to give users the ability to select a single IP address every time they connect with the VPN service.
This feature can be handy if you enjoy playing online games and need a constant IP address to be in touch with your online gaming friends.
However, this feature is offered as an add-on by NordVPN, which you can purchase for a nominal amount of $5.83 per month.
We know this seems like a lot of money, but the security and functionality you get in return make the price worth it.
Moreover, regarding add-ons, NordVPN has numerous other tools you can use to your advantage to increase the security of your data.
One such tool is the Tor Anonymity network which makes it harder to track your IP address and location while allowing you to access hidden websites.
This may take a little toll on your internet speed, but in our test, we noticed that NordVPN could easily handle something like this.
If being tracked by the government or hackers still scares you, know that NordVPN has a multi-hop feature called Double VPN.
This feature allows your connection to re-route from two other VPN servers before connecting with the internet.
A feature like this provides extra security to your IP address and ensures no one can track your location.
Another excellent feature incorporated by NordVPN in their VPN service is their threat protection system which they refer to as CyberSec.
This threat protection system goes beyond your average VPN protection.
NordVPN claims that CyberSec features can unblock restricted websites, block ads and trackers, and block malicious sites with viruses.
This is very good to hear, but NordVPN has stated that this section of their VPN is still in beta; therefore, if you decide to use these features, expect varying performances.
One feature that you won’t find lacking is NordVPN’s new feature called Meshnet. Through this feature, NordVPN allows you to connect an external device with your VPN.
This means that you can connect your phone using the same VPN server on your laptop. This is very useful for LAN gaming and sensitive file sharing.
However, the most practical use of this VPN, in our opinion, is to control your home computer from abroad without having to worry about security and data leaks.
Regarding technical security, NordVPN uses IKEv2 and IKEv6 protocol along with WireGuard encryption and OpenVPN.
This testifies to NordVPN’s robust security features and makes it the clear winner of NordVPN vs PIA in this benchmark section.
Let us look at how NordVPN does in other sections.
When it comes to a VPN, server availability is usually crucial because having more servers means having a faster internet connection.
In the case of NordVPN, this service provider has more than five thousand servers worldwide.
Due to the number of servers established by NordVPN, you can be sure to receive excellent internet speed and connection.
While testing the speed of a VPN, you need to be aware that many factors affect a VPN’s speed.
It depends on the device you are using and the distance of the VPN server you are connected with.
However, we would still like to see good results in terms of speed from NordVPN, which is why we decided to test it using numerous devices.
Our results show that NordVPN worked faster on our Windows laptop than on our MacBook Pro.
On our MacBook, the download speed provided by NordVPN slowed down to around 20 percent and increased to around 8 percent when we used it on our windows laptop.
However, the upload speed on our MacBook Pro was faster than on our Windows and Acer laptop.
It is also important to note that NordVPN uses the NordLynx protocol instead of OpenVPN.
This allows NordVPN to channel higher download speeds to devices such as MacBook, Windows, and Linux.
Our tests show that using this protocol significantly increased our download and upload speed while using this VPN.
Data leaks don’t usually fall behind when it comes to speed, especially fast speed. Thankfully, NordVPN has DNS leak protocols to prevent that from happening.
A domain Name System (DNS) is like a directory that converts all IP addresses so that when you put a specific domain name, it directs you to a specific IP address.
We put NordVPN to the test and found out that there were no data leaks while using this VPN.
Similarly, NordVPN has WebRTC in place, which is very useful because it allows Netflix, video chatting, online gaming, and other files we had to download to use less bandwidth and internet speed.
In our tests, we looked for IP leaks while using a WebRTC. Thankfully we found no IP leaks while using NordVPN on our Windows and Mac OS.
Needless to say, NordVPN performed very well in its speed performance test, and we are delighted with the results.
This gives NordVPN a further edge on the competing VPN, making us wonder whether we have already found our winner of NordVPN vs. PIA.
With every VPN, you must ask yourself a question before purchasing it.
That question is, “how long do I want to commit to the VPN?” This is because NordVPN offers you three different subscription plans with different commitment spans.
Prices vary depending on which subscription plan you decide to purchase.
If you are looking for a long commitment, you can go ahead with the two-year subscription plan, which will cost you $3.99.
With this subscription plan, you will have to pay less and get more.
However, if you don’t want to commit for so long, you can decide to opt for NordVPN every month, which will cost you $11.99.
This is not cheap; in the long run, this will cost you more than any other subscription plan.
Hence, we recommend you opt for the middle plan, where you get a one-year subscription for $4.99. This is one of the best options with NordVPN at this price.
You will also be able to retain all the premium features that NordVPN has to offer, and you will be able to enjoy top-notch security.
In our opinion, this is a great bargain, and we don’t see NordVPN losing this benchmark either.
However, let us not be too quick to judge and look at what PIA offers before deciding which VPN is the winner of this showdown.
Private Internet Access (PIA)
Private Internet Access is a well-established VPN service provider that was founded in 2009.
PIA is well-known for its massive server network ranging from around 10 thousand to a whopping 35 thousand.
It also has quite a few features to offer that. Let’s take a deeper look at what it provides and how it competes with NordVPN.
The first thing you notice about this VPN is that it gives you ten simultaneous connections for all your devices, whether that is Linux, Mac OS, Windows, IOS, Android, etc.
It even has browser extensions for Google Chrome and Firefox, which is a plus point for PIA in the NordVPN vs PIA comparison.
One key feature this VPN provides is its Obfuscation feature which allows you to spoof VPN censorship in susceptible locations where even VPN services are being monitored.
This feature does a fantastic job of hiding your IP address and making it seem like you are accessing the internet from a different location.
It also encrypts your VPN server and hides the fact that you are using a VPN in the first place.
Private Internet Access also comes with a no-logs feature which ensures that none of your activity is recorded by the VPN provider.
PIA is confident and sure about its no-logs feature and has been ambitious enough to prove it in court.
We decided to put this to the test, and our results conclude that PIA does not collect or record your data.
PIA also has a good kill switch that immediately springs into action when needed and a mediocre split-tunneling feature which we found to be quite troublesome in some cases.
We noticed that instead of letting only one application access the VPN service, other applications were leaking through as well.
This happened in only rare cases and not always. However, it is still something to keep in mind.
After the security features, let us focus on their speed performance and how well PIA can compete with NordVPN in that benchmark.
Sadly, PIA cannot keep up with NordVPN’s 85 Mbps speed. On average, PIA can offer its users only 63 Mbps of speed.
This may still be good for streaming videos and playing games online, but it is not good enough for other intensive tasks.
Our results show that PIA offers an average of 37.7 Mbps of download speed which may result in a few hiccups while downloading torrents.
PIA offers P2P sharing, but that is not enough as it needs to provide sufficient speed. That said, PIA is still one of the fastest VPNs in the market, just not as fast as NordVPN.
We also noticed no data leaks during our speed test, showing that PIA makes good use of IKEv2, WebRTC, and DNS leak protocols.
With that, PIA has an added benefit of IPv4 and IPv6, which better encrypts your data, keeping it safe and secure.
Although, we noticed that in the chance of a data leak, the kill switch immediately kicks in and terminates your connection with the internet, preventing any immediate data leaks.
This may seem inconvenient since you are prone to losing your work.
However, that is better than having your personal information leak through the server and be recorded by your ISP.
Lastly, let us look at the pricing on this VPN.
In terms of price, PIA is quite reasonable.
If you opt for their most extended subscription plan, which is a 26 months commitment, you get 2 months extra upon purchase.
This plan will cost you $2.19 monthly, which is the lowest this VPN goes.
If you don’t want to commit for so long, then you can choose the 12 months subscription plan, which will cost you around $3.33 every month, which is not that bad and is recommended by us.
However, if you opt for their least extended plan, which is a 1-month plan, that will cost you a whopping $11.95, which is a lot to give to an average VPN service.
Some users have reported difficulty with canceling and getting a refund.
In conclusion, our in-depth NordVPN vs PIA comparison shows that NordVPN is the better VPN in this showdown.
We recommend NordVPN over PIA due to its speed, performance, and security features.
NordVPN clearly has more security features than PIA, and that is one of the critical benchmarks for a VPN.
While PIA isn’t half bad, NordVPN is a robust VPN that will serve you well in all aspects.
We hope that this NordVPN vs PIA review was helpful to you, and we hope that you have been able to choose the best VPN for yourself.
What Is a VPN Used For?
A VPN can unlock geo-restricted content for you as well as restricted websites.
It also protects you from hackers and government security.
Using a VPN is crucial if you live in a high-censorship location.