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Private Internet Access vs. PureVPN Comparison

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Private Internet Access and PureVPN are top-tier VPNs used by millions worldwide. But which is the better option?

PIA has more security features than PureVPN, but PureVPN performed better in some of my tests. For example, it outdid PIA by unblocking streaming platforms.

Continue reading to discover more comparisons to make an informed decision! 

PIA vs. PureVPN (Overview Table)

  PIA PureVPN
Servers: Unknown 6,500+ servers
Speed: 12 Mbps drop 9 Mbps drop
Protocols: WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IPsec/IKEv2 (iOS only) OpenVPN, WireGuard, IPSec/IKEv2
Streaming: Hulu, Disney+, Crunchyroll, Netflix Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, France.tv, Crunchyroll
Torrenting: On all servers + seeding (except US servers) Only on P2P servers and IKEv2 protocol + seeding
Gaming: 10 ping + 0% packet loss 12 ping + 0% packet loss
Logs: Verified no-logs policy Verified no-logs policy
Security: Multihop, obfuscation, Tor Over VPN, two kill switches, DDoS protection Kill switch, DDoS protection, obfuscation
Devices: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Smart TVs, routers (manual) + Smart DNS Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Smart TVs, routers (app + manual)
Simultaneous Connections: Unlimited 10
Customer Support: 24/7 live chat 24/7 live chat
Best Deal: Private Internet Access PureVPN
Winner
purevpn logo
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Server Locations

Private Internet Access has an undisclosed number of servers in 84 countries, while PureVPN has 6,500+ in 88 locations in 70+ countries. So it’s easier to find an overseas server with PIA.

Both have servers in the Americas, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, making unblocking content easy. PIA offers 5 countries in Africa, 19 in Asia, 7 in the Middle East, 45 in Europe, and 10 in the Americas. PureVPN offers 5 countries in Africa, 14 in Asia, 5 in the Middle East, 32 in Europe, and 13 in the Americas.

Plus, PureVPN has 3000+ servers in Europe and 2200+ in North America, with 1,800+ in 13 locations in the US, while PIA has 55 server locations in the US, including two US streaming servers. This makes streaming US-only content with both VPNs possible.

On the flip side, PIA has RAM-only servers, which PureVPN lacks. 

This makes PIA your go-to option if you value security. Audits of PIA’s servers came clean with no trace of user activity.

China

Both PIA and PureVPN sometimes work to bypass firewalls and unblock China-only content from home and abroad. However, only PIA has Chinese servers that can give you a local IP address. This allows you to access China-only content from abroad.

With PureVPN, you can connect to servers in Hong Kong, the US, Germany, or Japan to unblock, but it doesn’t offer Chinese servers. They also both offer obfuscated servers that allow you to bypass firewalls.

EXPERT SUMMARY

We don’t have a precise number for PIA’s server network, but it still has a vast server network. Combined with its numerous server locations, including China, it has an edge over PureVPN. This gives PIA the win.

Winner
PIA logo
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Is PIA Faster Than PureVPN?

PureVPN is faster than PIA, winning 5 of the 6 tests I conducted with similar servers and protocols.

Its OpenVPN UDP protocol was the fastest, giving PIA a run for its money. 

Both VPNs have WireGuard, OpenVPN UDP, and IPSec/IKEv2

However, PIA’s IPSec is only available on its iOS app.

I tested the VPNs for speed using:

  • WireGuard
  • OpenVPN UDP
  • IPsec on my iOS device

I tested them on these three server locations:

  • US
  • UK
  • South Africa (the closest)

PureVPN performed beautifully, leaving PIA to win just one test with its WireGuard US server. I give an in-depth look in the next section.

Speed & Performance Tests

The table below shows the results of my speed tests using WireGuard, IPsec, and OpenVPN UDP with the US, UK, and South African servers.

  US Server UK Server South Africa Server
PIA (WireGuard) 16 Mbps drop 12 Mbps drop 11 Mbps drop
PureVPN (WireGuard) 7 Mbps drop 10 Mbps drop 7 Mbps drop
PIA (IPsec iOS only) 2 Mbps drop 4 Mbps drop 8 Mbps drop
PureVPN (IPSec) 15 Mbps drop 7 Mbps drop 11 Mbps drop
PIA (OpenVPN UDP) 6 Mbps drop 11 Mbps drop 9 Mbps drop
PureVPN (OpenVPN UDP) 7 Mbps drop  12 Mbps drop 18 Mbps drop

The fastest result was PureVPN’s OpenVPN UDP South Africa server.

purevpn speed test on south africa server

The PIA WireGuard South Africa server was impressive and was higher than PureVPN’s.

private internet access speed test on south africam server
EXPERT SUMMARY

PIA had an average of 6Mbps, while PureVPN had an average of 11Mbps. 

While PIA won with its WireGuard protocol, overall, PureVPN performed better.

Winner
purevpn logo
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Streaming

I tested PIA and PureVPN with Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Disney+, France.TV, and Crunchyroll. PureVPN unblocked all these streaming platforms. 

However, PIA could only unblock Disney+ and Hulu with its US streaming servers and Crunchyroll and BBC iPlayer with its UK – London streaming server.

Streaming Service PIA Access PureVPN Access
Hulu Yes Yes
BBC iPlayer Yes Yes
Disney+ Yes Yes
France.TV No Yes
Crunchyroll Yes Yes

PureVPN offers a shortcut feature similar to dedicated streaming servers and allows users to easily access numerous streaming platforms, including Amazon Prime US, BBC, Hulu, and HBO GO.

purevpn dedicated streaming servers

I could stream my favorite show (The Simpsons) on Disney+ in HD with both VPNs. Although, I experienced some buffering with PIA.

streaming disney plus over private internet access

I could unblock BBC iPlayer with PIA and PureVPN.

streaming bbc iplayer over private internet access

PIA also offers Smart DNS, so you can enjoy streaming on devices that don’t support VPNs. PureVPN doesn’t offer this.

Netflix Tests

I tested PIA and PureVPN with several Netflix libraries: The US, the UK, Denmark, Italy, Japan, Australia, Sweden, and Finland. Here’s a recap of my results:

Unblocks: Netflix US? Netflix UK? Other Netflix Libraries?
PIA Yes (US East & West Streaming) Yes (UK - London - Streaming) Netflix DK, IT, AU, SE, FI
PureVPN Yes (New York, US) Yes (London, GB) Netflix AU, IT, JP, DK, SE, FI

Both VPNs could unblock all Netflix libraries except for PIA’s Japan server

On the first try, I couldn’t access Japanese Netflix. The second try was slow and didn’t grant me access for more than a few minutes. Thus, if you want to access Japanese Netflix, PureVPN is your best bet.

Finding working servers on both VPNs wasn’t difficult at all. 

I tested PureVPN with even more than the listed servers. While for PIA, I stuck with the streaming servers, which all worked (except for Japan).

I enjoyed seamless streaming with both VPNs and almost got carried away while watching Queen Cleopatra in HD.

streaming netflix over purevpn
EXPERT SUMMARY

This would’ve been a tie between both VPNs, as I enjoyed smooth streaming on all platforms I unblocked. However, my inability to successfully unblock France.TV and Japanese Netflix with PIA give PureVPN the win.

Winner
purevpn logo
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Torrenting

PIA and PureVPN are suitable for torrenting, but PIA is the better option.

First, PIA has built-in port forwarding, Shadowsocks, and SOCKS5 proxy features, whereas PureVPN only offers port forwarding as a paid add-on

PIA’s SOCKS5 proxy granted me fast torrenting, but the icing on the cake is that it can be set up quickly as part of its obfuscation feature.

Secondly, PureVPN’s port forwarding requires you to connect to its IKEv2 protocol and any of its available P2P servers. PIA’s port forwarding has no requirements, but not all its server locations support it. For instance, its USA server locations don’t support port forwarding.

As for P2P policies, neither PIA nor PureVPN has strict torrenting policies.

However, they are both fully against users downloading copyrighted files with their VPNs and will not be responsible for users who do.

private internet access copyright policy

Additionally, since both VPNs allow port forwarding, albeit PureVPNs drawback, you won’t have any trouble seeding with either.

I conducted tests to compare how each VPN performed for torrenting. 

The results in the section will give you an in-depth review.

P2P Tests

I tested PIA and PureVPN’s P2P capabilities by downloading the same 2.34GB copyright-free movie, Night of the Living Dead (1968), via Free Download Manager. I tried PIA using WireGuard and IKEv2 for PureVPN with their London servers.

Here are my results:

  Average Download Speed Max Download Speed Download Completion Time
PIA 757 KB/s 1.35 MiB/s 110 minutes, 22 seconds
PureVPN 620 KB/s  1.18 MiB/s 125 minutes, 12 seconds

PIA had a faster download speed this time, with its average and max download speed higher than PureVPN’s. The download completion time was also quite different, with PureVPN downloading 15 minutes later than PIA.

torrenting with private internet access
EXPERT SUMMARY

PIA and PureVPN each support P2P, but only PureVPN offers dedicated P2P servers. 

While PIA has a faster download speed and offers a SOCKS5 proxy, it lacks P2P servers. PIA’s lack of P2P servers and PureVPN’s lack of SOCKS5 proxy make this round a tie.

Winner
Draw

Gaming

For an idea of how PIA and PureVPN would perform with games, I ran ping and packet loss tests. The results I got are as follows:

  Server Protocol Ping Packet Loss
PIA UK - London WireGuard 10 Mbps 0%
PureVPN United Kingdom WireGuard 12 Mbps 0%

There was little difference between the two, as PureVPN was barely ahead.

I then tested the VPNs with League of Legends and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. PIA performed excellently with both games, and I experienced the least lags with League of Legends (which I had to play with the US server on my Mac). 

I could keep up with other champions effortlessly.

private internet access packet loss test

With PureVPN, I also enjoyed a smooth game time with LoL

Although there was a slight lag at intervals, I could still win battles seamlessly. 

I had a better experience with COD, though, and experienced almost no lags while doing away with enemies on the battleground.

purevpn packet loss test
EXPERT SUMMARY

While the difference in this section between both VPNs wasn’t so much, PIA still wins this round for having the least lags.

Winner
PIA logo
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Privacy

Private Internet Access and PureVPN take their user’s privacy seriously. 

For instance, they both only require an email address and password to sign up. 

On top of that, they both accept cryptocurrencies as a payment method.

However, PIA offers ad blocker and malware protection (as an add-on) while PureVPN doesn’t, giving PIA an edge.

private internet access ad blocker

There’s one problem, though – jurisdiction. PIA is headquartered in the US, part of the 5, 9, and 14 eyes. This makes PureVPN the better choice regarding privacy, as it is located in the British Virgin Islands and not part of any intelligence-sharing alliance.

Although, they both have strict logging policies, which I’ll discuss further below.

Logging Policies

I read through PIA and PureVPN’s logging policies, and here’s what I found out:

  Traffic Logs? Connection Logs? IP Address? Server Location?
PIA No No No No
PureVPN No No No No

In addition, both PIA and PureVPN have been audited. Deloitte Audit Romania audited PIA in June 2022, and PureVPN was audited by KPMG in 2020 and again in 2021.

PureVPN’s always-on audit setting with KPMG allows the company’s processes and servers to be audited without prior notice. It’s also the only VPN company to have this. This was also PureVPN’s third audit, its first being with Altius IT audit in 2019.

On top of that, both VPNs are also open-source, allowing users to customize the source code at any time. This makes both VPNs privacy-friendly despite PIA being located in the US.

EXPERT SUMMARY

PIA and PureVPN have strict no-logs policies and have been audited by one of the Big Four auditing firms. This makes them reliable, but PureVPN has the added advantage of being outside the jurisdiction of surveillance alliances. This earns it the win for this section.

Winner
purevpn logo
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Security

Regarding security, both PIA and PureVPN have a lot to offer. 

They both use AES 256-bit encryption, although PIA allows you to switch between 256-bit and 128-bit encryption.

private internet access protocols

However, it’s best to stick with the 256-bit encryption if security is a priority for you. But you can always switch when you want to stream for the extra speed.

I tested the 256-bit encryption of both VPNs using Wireshark, and the results were positive. This confirms the encryption works and protects you from snooping eyes.

Furthermore, both VPNs offer a system-wide kill switch feature

PIA also has an advanced kill switch feature that protects you even when your VPN is turned off.

Finally, both VPNs also offer protection against leaks. So, I conducted leak tests for IP, DNS, IPV6, and WebRTC and experienced no leaks. I performed the tests using the UK – London servers.

Here are the results:

private internet access wireshark test

Above is the Wireshark result when I tested PIA for AES 256-bit encryption.

private internet access ipleak test

Above is the DNS and WebRTC leak tests for PIA.

purevpn ipleak test

Above is PureVPN’s IP address leak test result.

Below is PureVPN’s DNS and WebRTC leak test results.

purevpn dns test results

I also tested their advanced security features. I’ll cover this in the next section.

DDoS Protection

PIA and PureVPN offer protection against DDoS attacks. This is especially important if you’re an avid gamer.

While gaming, you’re at risk if other gamers get your IP address, as they can use this to flood your server to slow you down and get in the way of your gameplay. 

You can avoid this by using PIA or PureVPN, as the VPNs encrypt your connection and hide your IP address.

This security feature comes with all payment packages on both platforms.

Obfuscation

Another security feature both VPNs share is obfuscation. However, PIA offers it on only its Android and desktop apps. Obfuscation for PureVPN is automatic, which means all its servers are obfuscated.

Meanwhile, PIA requires you to activate the Multihop feature for automatic obfuscation. The Multihop feature offers both obfuscation and double VPN using an auto VPN server and either Shadowsocks or SOCKS5 proxy.

This feature gives PIA an edge as it is likely faster than PureVPN. 

However, its disadvantage is not having double encryption because its second server is a proxy.

private internet access multi-hop feature

Obfuscated servers allow you to bypass VPN detection and blockers, which is especially important if you’re in a VPN-restricted region. With obfuscated servers, your ISP can’t tell you’re using a VPN, as your traffic will be disguised as regular traffic, preventing ISP throttling.

Extra Security Features

There are other security features unique to PIA. Firstly, it offers TOR over VPN, which gives you an added layer of security by ensuring that your network is untraceable.

private internet access multi-hop feature

You can access .onion websites using the TOR server without tracking your internet traffic and home IP address. PIA also offers the Multihop feature (double VPN), which chains two VPN servers together to increase online anonymity. 

While this is a great security feature, it tends to make the connection speed slower than one or a single-hop VPN.

EXPERT SUMMARY

PIA and PureVPN both have strong security features. However, PIA is the better option due to its TOR over VPN and Multihop (double VPN) features. 

These extra features give users an added layer of security to protect them from third-party interference.

Winner
PIA logo
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Devices & Connections

PIA and PureVPN support a wide range of devices. They both support Windows, iOS, macOS, Android, and Linux.

Additionally, PureVPN has an app for Chromebook and a Chrome browser extension, but PIA only supports the browser extension. PureVPN has a native app for DD-WRT routers, while others require a manual configuration. 

In comparison, PIA requires a manual setup for all routers.

Here’s a complete guide on all supported devices:

  PIA PureVPN
Compatible OS? Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux, Android Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux, Android, Chromebook
Smart TVs? Android TV, FireTV, + SmartDNS Android TV, FireTV, Android TV, Apple TV, Samsung TV
Router Support? Yes (manual) Yes (app & manual)
Browser Extensions? Chrome, Firefox, Opera Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Brave

PIA also offers a Smart DNS feature on its web app, which you can use on devices that don’t support VPNs, like gaming consoles and smart TVs. PureVPN doesn’t offer this feature.

private internet access smart dns setup

Furthermore, PIA supports unlimited simultaneous connections, while PureVPN is limited to ten simultaneous devices. That’s enough to share with friends and family with both VPNs.

EXPERT SUMMARY

While both VPNs are compatible with major devices, PureVPN doesn’t offer Smart DNS.

It is also limited to ten simultaneous device connections, compared to PIA with unlimited connections. With this, this round goes to PIA.

Winner
PIA logo
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Dedicated IP

This feature is for those who want an exclusive IP address not shared by anyone else, and both VPNs offer this. Both PIA and PureVPN’s dedicated IP feature comes at an extra cost. With PureVPN, it comes as an add-on. You can opt for the dedicated IP VPN or dedicated IP + port forwarding.

PIA offers dedicated IP addresses from seven locations: the UK, Germany, Australia, the US, Japan, Singapore, and Canada. With PureVPN, you’ll get US, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, Singapore, and Malta IP addresses.

private internet access dedicated ip address

Below is where you can find PureVPN’s dedicated IP request on its iOS app.

purevpn dedicated ip request on ios app

Finally, PureVPN’s dedicated IP is more affordable than PIA’s. 

PIA offers a rate of $2.50/month in addition to the regular monthly plan, while PureVPN offers it at $0.99/month.

Split Tunneling

Both PIA and PureVPN offer split tunneling, but their offering differs. 

PIA offers split tunneling on all devices with its native app but not its web app. PureVPN only offers it on Windows and Android devices.

private internet access split tunneling settings
EXPERT SUMMARY

This section could have been a tie but for PureVPN’s split tunneling drawback. 

Since this feature doesn’t support iOS and macOS devices, it’s a win for PIA.

Winner
PIA logo
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Customer Support

PIA and PureVPN both offer 24/7 live chat support. When testing, I contacted each VPN’s support team and connected to an agent faster with PureVPN

With PIA, I wasn’t transferred to an agent on my first few tries. 

However, I could speak to an agent on my last two within seconds.

Here are screenshots of a few conversations with PureVPN’s live chat agent:

PureVPN’s agent answered all my questions seamlessly. For instance, I asked the agent if the VPN has strict torrenting policies, and their response was no. 

However, they do have a P2P policy against downloading copyrighted files. 

I wish the agent had mentioned it to me.

The PIA agent I was connected to also answered my questions easily. 

I asked about their obfuscated servers and got helpful answers in return.

On top of that, PureVPN offers email support and VPN guides

PIA offers email support, FAQs, community support, and setup guides.

EXPERT SUMMARY

PIA has live chat support, but it wasn’t as reliable as PureVPN’s. 

On the other hand, PureVPN’s live chat was readily accessible and helpful, earning it a win for this round.

Winner
purevpn logo
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Usability

PIA and PureVPN have user-friendly apps for beginners and advanced users

I tested them on my Macbook and iOS device and found them easy to navigate and connect.

The user interfaces for both apps were easy to understand, with each feature clear enough to find and use. The interface on both the PC and mobile app was also the same.

However, there were a few differences. For instance, PIA’s iOS app doesn’t offer the Multihop and split tunneling features, and PureVPN’s mobile app doesn’t offer an internet kill switch. PureVPN’s split tunneling is only available on its Windows and Android apps.

Finally, I checked how long it takes for both VPNs to connect, and PIA connected faster than PureVPN. However, the difference was insignificant.

EXPERT SUMMARY

This round is another tie with both VPNs as they both offer user- and beginner-friendly interfaces. They also offer the necessary features required for a VPN to function.

Winner
Draw

Price & Value

PIA is more affordable than PureVPN. However, the difference is a little.

Here are PIA’s prices:

Here are PureVPN’s prices:

They also offer a money-back guarantee, with PureVPN offering just a day more than PIA (31 days). They also both offer similar payment methods. 

PIA offers credit/debit cards, PayPal, Amazon Pay, and cryptocurrencies

PureVPN accepts credit/debit cards, PayPal, cryptocurrencies, and Google Pay.

EXPERT SUMMARY

This is another tie as they are both affordable, and the price and refund difference is almost unnoticeable.

Winner
Draw

PIA vs. PureVPN (Overview Table)

  PIA PureVPN Winner
Servers: Unknown 6,500+ servers PureVPN
Speed: 12 Mbps drop 9 Mbps drop PIA
Protocols: WireGuard, OpenVPN UDP, and IPsec/IKEv2 (iOS only) OpenVPN UDP, WireGuard, IPSec, IKEv2 PureVPN
Streaming: Hulu, Disney+, Crunchyroll, Netflix Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, France.tv, Crunchyroll PureVPN
Torrenting: On all servers + seeding (except US servers) Only on P2P servers and IKEv2 protocol + seeding Tie
Gaming: 10 ping + 0% packet loss 12 ping + 0% packet loss PureVPN
Logs: Verified no-logs policy Verified no-logs policy Tie
Security: Multihop, obfuscation, Tor Over VPN, two kill switches, DDoS protection Kill switch, DDoS protection, obfuscation PIA
Devices: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Smart TVs, routers (manual), Smart DNS Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Smart TVs, routers (app + manual) PIA
Simultaneous Connections: Unlimited 10 PIA
Customer Support: 24/7 live chat 24/7 live chat PureVPN
Best Deal: Private Internet Access PureVPN  
More Comparisons:

Ready to Decide?

PIA and PureVPN are excellent VPNs, but PIA is better suited for security-conscious people. It is also the best option for advanced users who need more features to work with.

In comparison, PureVPN is great for streaming as it offers more unblocking features allowing you to stream content on various streaming services. 

It also offers reliable streaming speeds with little to no lags. 

If you’re working with a budget, either option works fine, but PIA is more affordable, albeit with a one-day-less money-back guarantee.

Once you’ve decided, you can grab these deals from PIA and PureVPN before it’s too late.

THE WINNER IS PUREVPN

Protect private web traffic from snooping, interference, and censorship. All plans are covered by a no-hassle 100% money-back guarantee for your first 31 days of service.

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