NordVPN vs PIA

nordvpn vs pia

NordVPN vs PIA

With the explosion of cybersecurity concerns in recent years, there has arisen the need for VPNs to protect people against cybersecurity threats.

But the truth is that there are so many VPN providers out there, and each one of them offers its own unique brand of features. It can therefore be difficult to decide which service is the best.

NordVPN is a better VPN when compared to Private Internet Access (PIA). It has superior features and capabilities than PIA, and for this reason, NordVPN is recommended.

In this article, we’re going to put these two VPNs against each other and weigh their strengths and weaknesses against each other.

This will allow us to decide which one is the best choice overall for average users. So stick around and read on as we enlighten you.


Even if you are not an internet security expert or a VPN aficionado, you’ve probably come across NordVPN. There are numerous VPNs out there, each with different capabilities and features.

But NordVPN has carved out a lane for itself ever since it was founded in 2012. It’s one of the most well-known VPN services.

NordVPN is arguably the best VPN service there is. It combines affordability with security, privacy, and effectiveness to give the best user experience you could ever hope for.

It offers the best online security solutions for a whole host of users all around the world.

It has one of the most secure networks, boasting of military-grade encryption technology, and more security features that make it virtually uncrackable.

This ensures that the information and data of all its users are safe from online threats.

NordVPN also has excellent speeds, ideal for all manner of online activities. What’s even better is that it has a zero-logs policy which means it doesn’t track, store, collect, or log users’ data.

It’s located in Panama, outside of the US and EU jurisdictions, and because of this, the privacy of users is assured.

Some of the pros and cons of NordVPN are:

Pros of NordVPN

·       It has the largest number of servers around the world- Over 5000 servers in over 60 countries.

·       It has a zero-logs policy.

·       It has strong encryption and security protocols to ensure the safety of users’ data.

·       It has fast and stable speeds no matter where you are in the world.

·       It’s extremely user friendly and overall gives the best user experience with a variety of features.

·       The Panama jurisdiction it’s under is a huge plus.

·       It has reliable customer support in case you have issues.

Cons of NordVPN

·       Not all of its servers have stable speeds.

·       Torrents do not work on all of its servers.

·       It’s a little pricey.

One of NordVPN’s greatest competitors is Private Internet Access (PIA). PIA is an equally sophisticated VPN, albeit with different features than NordVPN.

So we’re going to put them head to head against each other and see which one of them will come out on top.

Private Internet Access (PIA)

PIA is currently one of the most popular VPN providers. Started in 2010 by London Trust Media, it has grown to become an affordable, reliable, and extremely secure VPN service boasting a number of features.

It is fast and boasts top-grade encryption systems that ensure the safety of users’ information. It has a substantial number of servers all across the world.

It has a no-logs policy that has been proven, and this makes it stand out from most other VPNs. 

All in all, PIA has all the necessary features to enable users to maintain online anonymity and safeguard themselves from online threats.

It’s also important to mention that it’s located in the U.S. and falls under that jurisdiction.

Pros of PIA

  • It has fast speeds.
  • It keeps no-logs of user data.
  • It has an above average number of servers.
  • It has top-grade security features such as AES-256, DNS and IP leak protection, Killswitch, and many more.
  • It allows torrenting.
  • It can unblock several streaming services such as Netflix.

Cons of PIA

  • It’s under the jurisdiction of the U.S. and can therefore be forced to store user data.
  • It has limited streaming options. It doesn’t work with Disney+, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and HBO.
  • Its privacy policy is a little unclear.
  • It has a few additional privacy and security options.

NordVPN vs PIA: Which One Is Better?

Just so we’re clear, both NordVPN and PIA are excellent VPNs. The only thing is that they have different features and capabilities and for this reason, one is bound to be better than the other.

Each one of them claims to have the best privacy policies, security protocols, performance, and speeds.

But there can only be one winner. So we’ll analyze each of their capabilities under several categories and come up with the overall winner at the end.

1. Speed

No matter how you spend your time online or what online activities you engage in, VPN speed is one of the most crucial things.

It’s a reality that some VPNs have been known to throttle speeds and this has been quite a headache for most VPN users.

No matter your location on earth, a good VPN will always give you top speeds at any time of the day.

An inferior one, on the other hand, will deliver slow and frustrating speeds that make it hard for you to do anything online.

So it goes without saying that different VPNs have different speeds around the world. Speed is, therefore, a key performance factor that will enable us to distinguish which is the better service between NordVPN and PIA.

First of all, we conducted a base speed test which was around 160Mbps. It’s also worth noting that all speed tests between NordVPN and PIA were conducted using their OpenVPN software.

In Europe, the average speeds for NordVPN were much better than PIA. When connected to a UK server, NordVPN recorded speeds of up to 150Mbps.

When connected to a PIA server in the UK, the speeds were much slower at 65Mbps. So NordVPN has a clear edge over PIA in the UK.

Tests for NordVPN servers in Switzerland recorded speeds of 150Mbps. PIA recorded speeds of up to 85Mbps.

In Germany, NordVPN recorded speeds of about 120Mbps while PIA recorded 90Mbps.

In the US, NordVPN is still ahead in terms of speed. When connected to a New York server, the speed was around 148Mbps. The PIA server in New York was slower once again at 65Mbps.

Both of these VPNs can maintain consistently fast speeds. But it’s clear who the winner in this category is. PIA comes nowhere close to NordVPN’s speeds.

This can be attributed to the fact that NordVPN has quite more servers than PIA around the world.

It’s also worth mentioning that NordVPN has Wireguard. Unlike OpenVPN, Wireguard is the fastest VPN protocol there is.

This gives users excellent and steady speeds. So this gives NordVPN an advantage over PIA which only uses OpenVPN.

So NordVPN wins in this category.

Server countryNordVPNPIA
U.S. (New York)148Mbps65Mbps

2. Servers

One of the major parameters that determine the quality of a VPN is the number of servers available to users.

When it comes to ensuring top performance, the size of the network and distribution is of utmost importance.

If a VPN has more servers, they are less likely to be crowded and thus reduce the speeds of devices connected to them.

A good distribution of servers all around the world is also desirable because it makes it possible for users all around the world to find servers that are close to them.

This offers a variety of servers to choose from and also ensures faster speeds. You can thus effectively spoof your location while still maintaining top speeds.

NordVPN and PIA both have impressive global server coverage. They have a large number of servers when compared to most VPN providers, which is saying much. But there’s a clear winner here.

Among all other VPN providers, NordVPN has the largest server network spread out all across the world. It has over 5500 servers which are distributed in over 60 countries worldwide.

With NordVPN, you can obtain fast and consistent speeds no matter where you are on earth.

NordVPN offers a whole range of servers such as P2P, obfuscated servers, onion over VPN servers, and double VPN servers.

There are quite a few VPN providers out there that can boast of a large server count. It’s not easy to run and maintain them and it requires a lot of resources to do so.

NordVPN is one of the few VPNs that can make this work. This gives users less congested servers and top speeds.

For PIA, the case is altogether different. While this VPN still has an impressive number of VPNs, it cannot compare to NordVPN.

Currently, PIA has over 3300 servers that are spread out in over 25 countries around the world.

Besides the difference in number and location, PIA doesn’t give a variety of specialized servers as NordVPN does.

So NordVPN is the undisputed winner in this category.

With the number of VPN users growing each day, you’d want to pick a VPN service with a large number of servers that can handle a lot of traffic without affecting speeds. NordVPN is that choice.

ServersOver 5500Over 3300
Locations around the worldOver 60 countriesOver 25 countries

3. Logging Policies and Privacy

One of the major concerns for most people online nowadays is privacy and anonymity. The reason why people nowadays have resorted to using VPNs is that they desire a degree of privacy whenever they are online.

This is understandable considering just how many online threats there are.

VPNs ensure that users can safeguard and hide their private information from third parties such as hackers and government agencies.

When using the internet without a VPN you open yourself up to privacy breaches.

Company logging policies are directly linked to the privacy of users. Logging policies determine whether VPN services track, collect, and store users’ information.

Most VPN services claim to have no-logs policies but how true is this? How many can be trusted?

It’s worth mentioning that the logging policies of VPNs are tied to their jurisdictions too. Some countries legally require VPN services to keep logs of their users’ data.

Ideally, the best VPN for privacy is one that is located in a jurisdiction that doesn’t require it to keep user logs.

We’ll start with NordVPN. NordVPN has a proven no-logs policy. It submits to frequent audits by auditing firms.

These auditing firms have access to the company’s servers and databases, can also interview employees and observe operations.

A firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, after examining all these, confirmed that NordVPN is fully compliant with its no-logs policy.

PIA also has a proven no-logs policy. In 2016, they were subpoenaed to provide logs for a criminal case but they went on record to say that they had no logs to provide.

In 2018, their no-logs policy was again verified when they couldn’t provide logs for a criminal case.

So both NordVPN and PIA are compliant with their no-logs policy. There is however one huge difference in terms of jurisdiction.

For starters, NordVPN is located in Panama. This is a country that is outside of U.S. and EU jurisdictions. This means that it isn’t legally required to keep user logs.

PIA on the other hand is under U.S. jurisdiction and this is a huge red flag. The U.S is an awful privacy jurisdiction because it has many laws that undermine data privacy.

It also legally requires VPNs to collect user data.

So both companies say they keep no logs. But which one is better for privacy? NordVPN is easily believable when compared to PIA.

So for this reason, NordVPN is the winner.

No logs policyYesYes

4. Streaming

Streaming has become one of the most popular online activities for most internet users today. It, therefore, follows that having a VPN service with the best streaming capabilities is an important factor.

One of the major downsides of most streaming services is that they geo-restrict their content. This means that people that are outside a certain geographical location cannot access the streaming services libraries.

This is where VPNs come in handy. They allow users to change their real IP addresses and therefore spoof their real location. This makes it possible to access the content libraries of these streaming services.

VPNs also encrypt users’ data and make sure they are protected when streaming.

Both NordVPN and PIA have unblocking capabilities, though different.

For starters, NordVPN is one of the best VPN services for streaming purposes. It can reliably unblock most geo-restricted streaming libraries.

NordVPN unlocks a whole host of streaming services, both in the U.S. and internationally.

Some of the streaming services that NordVPN can unlock are Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO, BBC iPlayer, Showtime, and others.

PIA on the other hand isn’t quite as reliable as NordVPN for unblocking streaming services.

For example, you cannot access Netflix sometimes. It’s also impossible to unblock some other services like Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, and BBC iPlayer.

There are other things to consider when choosing a VPN for streaming purposes. These are speed and server count. In terms of speed, no one wants to stream a video that buffers a lot.

A large server count on the other hand allows users access to streaming sites from anywhere in the world. As we’ve already discussed before in the article, NordVPN tops PIA in both these categories.

For this reason, it’s correct to say that for streaming purposes, NordVPN is better than PIA.

Streaming ServiceNordVPNPIA
NetflixYesSelectively Yes.
Amazon PrimeYesNo
BBC iPlayerYesNo

5. Torrenting and File Sharing

Torrenting and P2P file sharing are extremely popular today. The main issue, however, is that downloading copyrighted material when torrenting is illegal and comes with consequences.

There’s often a thin line between legal and illegal torrenting actions and it is therefore easy to get on the wrong side of things.

It’s also worth mentioning that torrenting and file sharing are quite risky. Using torrenting applications unprotected can open a person up to all manner of security threats.

VPNs are therefore a necessity in all torrenting activities. They ensure anonymity and protection while providing stable speeds for downloads.

On one hand, NordVPN provides users with a wide range of P2P servers that are dedicated for that purpose alone. It also has safety and security measures in place to ensure that your data is safe when torrenting.

NordVPN also has excellent speeds that support fast downloads of any torrent files.

The matter of NordVPN’s jurisdiction is also a huge plus. Since it’s based in Panama, it’s outside of the jurisdiction of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

This means that it’s not legally required to monitor and report copyright infringement.

PIA on the other hand has fewer P2P servers compared to NordVPN. It’s also based in the U.S. and is therefore under DMCA jurisdiction.

So NordVPN is the better choice for all your torrenting activities.

P2P serversYesYes
DCMA jurisdictionNoYes

6. Security

Concern for security is the main reason why most people use VPNs. Owing to cybersecurity risks, more and more people are turning to VPNs so that they are safe and secure when online.

Both NordVPN and PIA offer AES-256 encryption through the OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP protocols.

This ensures that their users are well protected.  Both of them also offer DNS and IP leak protection, Killswitch, and Ad/malware blocking.

The two VPNs however differ from each other security-wise in a few ways. For example, NordVPN’s DNS/IP leak and Killswitch features are far more advanced than PIA’s. 

Also, NordVPN has obfuscation, double VPN, and Onion over VPN, all of which PIA locks. These are security features that provide NordVPN users with additional security.

So in this category, NordVPN is the clear winner hands down.

Security FeatureNordVPNPIA
AES-256 encryptionYesYes
DNS and IP leak protectionYesYes
Double VPNYesNo
Onion over VPNYesNo
Ad/Malware blockingYesYes

7. Prices

The good news is that both NordVPN and PIA are reasonably priced for the range of features they provide. But there’s a clear winner when it comes to this.

For the monthly plan, NordVPN at $11.95 per month. The 6-month plan is at $9 per month while the 2-year rate is at $3.71 per month.

PIA on the other hand gives $9.95 for the monthly plan, $5.99 per month for the 6-month plan, and $2.85 per month for the yearly plan.

When compared to NordVPN, the monthly plan for PIA is cheaper. NordVPN is more expensive but offers access to more features.

So in this scenario, PIA wins.


In conclusion, it’s worth mentioning that NordVPN and PIA are some of the best VPNs in the business. From all the above comparisons, however, NordVPN is better than PIA! NordVPN offers a wider range of features.

Mark Lewis

Security nerd with a Data Privacy First mindset!

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