PureVPN vs Private Internet Access (PIA) Comparison (2020)
If you’re looking for a VPN service that offers solid security and allows you to access geo-restricted sites, you may have narrowed down the many options out there to just two – PureVPN and Private Internet Access.
Now comes the challenging part. Which service should you go with?
To help you find out, I compared both services in the areas of security, speed, privacy, ease of use, and pricing.
In this PureVPN vs. PIA comparison article, I’ll share the results of my research and testing.
Here’s a quick comparison table.
|PureVPN||Private Internet Access|
|Rating||4.1 of 5||4.3 of 5 |
|Price||View Best Price||View Best Price|
|Jurisdiction||Hong Kong||United States|
|Logging Policy||No-logging policy||No-logging policy|
|Servers & Countries||2,000+ in 140 countries||3,375+ in 32 countries|
|Torrenting / P2P||Yes||Yes|
|Customer Support||24/7 live chat support||No live chat support|
|Simultaneous Connections||Up to 10 devices||Up to 5 devices|
|Supported Platforms||Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Chrome, Opera, and Firefox||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Routers, Android TV, Firestick TV|
|Visit:||Go with PureVPN||Go with Private Internet Access|
How I Picked the Better VPN Service?
VPN services are a must-have if you want to protect your online privacy.
What features, though, should you look out for before purchasing a VPN service subscription?
Here are the major features I look out for when considering a VPN service.
Solid Security and Encryption
Since you’re most likely getting a VPN to keep you safe online, robust security features are a must-have. The best VPNs out there boast military-grade AES-256 encryption as well as support for secure VPN protocols such as OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec.
Other necessary security features that a good VPN service should possess include a kill-switch and IP and DNS leak protection.
The fact that you’re using a VPN service does not mean that you have to endure terrible speeds.
A great VPN service will keep you secure without impacting your connection speeds considerably.
Reliable No-Logging Policy
In addition to offering strong security, an ideal VPN service must have a reliable no-logging policy. They must keep no logs of your browsing activities or data.
Nowadays, most services claim to offer such a policy.
Quality Customer Support
When things go wrong, as they almost always do, it’s great to have quick, helpful customer support when you need it.
If you’ve grappled with poor customer support, you undoubtedly appreciate how vital support is to the overall experience of a product or service. Quality customer support is one of the first things I look out for when purchasing a technical product or service.
Great Value for Money
I always like getting the best bang for my buck, and I’m sure you do too.
Thus, I’m always looking out for products and services that deliver great features and quality at really affordable prices.
Some VPN services offer massive discounts if you’re willing to commit for more extended periods. Others allow you to connect more devices on a single subscription.
Best of all, some services offer free trials and money-back guarantees so you can give them a try before making a decision.
Private Internet Access Strengths and Weaknesses
PureVPN Strengths and Weaknesses
Jurisdiction and Privacy
Private Internet Access is registered in the United States, a not-so-great location for a VPN service.
The US is part of the 5-eyes, 9-eyes, and 14-eyes intelligence-sharing alliances.
PureVPN, on the other hand, is based in Hong Kong, which is a better location for a VPN service as it doesn’t belong to any of the alliances mentioned above. However, its proximity to China could be a cause for concern for some.
Private Internet Access claims not to keep activity logs of any kind.
Can those claims be trusted?
Well, if you check out an article on their logging policy in the support section of their website, you’ll see links to public court documents proving that PIA doesn’t log any user-related data.
Private Internet Access also provides a Transparency Report showing official requests for information and any data handed over.
PureVPN also claims to be a ‘zero logs’ VPN service. However, it wasn’t always a true ‘zero logs’ VPN service provider. In October 2017, a man was arrested with help from PureVPN’s records showing that it kept some logs.
PureVPN released its defense in a blog post, which confirms that it did keep network logs despite claiming to be a zero-logs service.
Countries and Servers
|Private Internet Access||3,375+||32|
PureVPN boasts a decent fleet of over 2,000 servers in more than 140 countries.
Among these are a combination of virtual and bare-metal servers.
The virtual servers are clearly marked on their website and in their software clients.
Private Internet Access offers a large server fleet of over 3,375 servers in 32 countries.
The geographical spread of those servers is also decent. There are servers in North America, Europe, Asia, and South America. However, there are very few servers in Africa, Central America, and South America.
While PIA has the edge numerically, PureVPN has servers in more countries and locations around the world. It also has a lot more options in Africa, Central America, and South America.
|Criteria||PureVPN||Private Internet Access|
|6-month Plan||No 6-month plan||$5.99/mo|
|2-Year Plan||$3.33/mo||No 2-Year Plan|
A glance at the table above, and it’s immediately evident that Private Internet Access is the more affordable VPN service for now. At $6.95, their current monthly plan is one of the most affordable you’ll find.
You can purchase a Private Internet Access subscription using credit cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, and gift cards.
While PureVPN is more expensive, it’s plans are still quite affordable, and it offers a 31-day money-back guarantee compared to PIA’s 7-day guarantee. Payment methods include cards, PayPal, Alipay, cryptocurrency, PaymentWall, and gift cards.
You can also purchase Port Forwarding, Dedicated IP, and DDoS Protection as addons for $0.99, $1.99, and $2.99, respectively.
Both services do not offer free trials.
Winner: Private Internet Access
Security and Encryption
When it comes to security, both VPN services perform admirably.
Private Internet Access offers AES-128-bit encryption as the default encryption method.
However, you bump that up to the industry standard, which is AES-256-bit encryption.
You can also change the authentication and handshaking methods in the settings.
Private Internet Access supports OpenVPN and L2TP/IPSec protocols. Other security features offered by PIA include a kill switch and the option to use custom DNS servers.
PureVPN supports OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, and other protocols such as PPTP, SSTP, and IKEv2. You also get AES-256-bit encryption as the default method. PureVPN also provides an additional exclusive protocol called StealthVPN, which is ideal for accessing geo-restricted websites.
PureVPN also offers a reliable kill switch. You can turn on port forwarding if you need it.
Their Ozone feature, which is currently only available in certain countries, protects your traffic from malware and intruders. You get content, app, and URL filtering, as well as a server-side antivirus.
Torrenting and P2P
Private Internet Access is an excellent VPN for torrenting and P2P file-sharing purposes.
You can access torrents from any server, and there are no bandwidth restrictions.
The service has a reputation for being torrent-friendly and is a great option for anyone looking for a VPN for torrenting purposes.
PureVPN is also a torrent-friendly VPN service. Just like with PIA, you can torrent on any of their servers. In their software clients, you can find a list of P2P-optimized servers meant for torrenting.
You can also get an add-on to protect your torrent traffic.
In the area of customer support, PureVPN has a significant edge over PIA as it offers 24/7 live chat support. I tested it out, and it was a pleasant experience. The customer service representative I chatted with was courteous and knowledgeable. PureVPN also offers a ticket support system and an FAQ section.
PIA, on the other hand, does not offer a live chat option, but you can fill out a contact form and get a response by email. They also have an FAQ page in the support section of their website, as well as guides and tutorials.
If you need immediate help with a technical issue, live chat is the way to go. PureVPN is, therefore, the better service in this regard.
Bypassing Netflix’ geo-restrictions is the ultimate test for a VPN service. PIA was able to get past those restrictions in a number of US servers. BBC iPlayer, on the other hand, was more tricky for the VPN service as it failed to unblock it.
PureVPN was also able to get around Netflix’s restrictions as well as those of BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.
While neither service is excellent for streaming, they both do a decent job when it comes to streaming. However, if you’re looking for a VPN primarily for streaming purposes, you’ll be better off with NordVPN.
|Speed before VPN||8 ms||100 Mbps||55 Mbps|
|PIA New York Server||116 ms||75 Mbps (-25%)||34 Mbps (-39%)|
|PIA London Server||44 ms||73 Mbps (-27%)||22 Mbps (-60%)|
|PIA Hong Kong Server||288 ms||67 Mbps (-33%)||14 Mbps (-75%)|
|PureVPN New York Server||122 ms||30 Mbps (-70%)||29 Mbps (-48%)|
|PureVPN London Server||55 ms||63 Mbps (-37%)||44 Mbps (-20%)|
|PureVPN Hong Kong Server||365 ms||8 Mbps (-92%)||4 Mbps (-93%)|
There’s hardly any contest here. As you can see from the comparison table above, PIA delivers significantly faster download and upload speeds than PureVPN.
While PureVPN provided decent speeds when connected to its London server, the speed reduction for the Hong Kong and New York servers are worrying.
If speed is a major concern for you, then PIA is clearly the better option.
Winner: Private Internet Access
Features and Ease of Use
You can use a PIA subscription on up to 10 devices simultaneously.
That number is higher than what even the most acclaimed VPN services offer.
They offer software clients for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS as well as browser extensions for Chrome, Opera, and Firefox.
Their software is easy to use and boasts several advanced features, as well as a dark mode toggle.
PureVPN offers five simultaneous connections, as well as a plethora of features, including DDoS protection, a NAT Firewall, split tunneling, and advanced port forwarding.
They also offer apps for all the major platforms and browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
You can also configure their software manually on gaming consoles, routers, Apple TV, Android TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, and other platforms. There are detailed guides for installing PureVPN on any device on their website.
PureVPN is easy to download. Install and set up. While their software clients offer a lot of advanced functionality, the interface could be better.
If you love diving deep into settings and menus to configure every aspect of an application, their clients might appeal to you. However, if you’re not very tech-savvy, you might prefer a more straightforward interface.
Winner: Private Internet Access
PureVPN vs PIA - Which One Should You Choose?
While PureVPN does have better customer support and a more balanced server spread, PIA performs better in the areas of speed, ease of use, and value for money.
So which one should you choose?
Well, the choice is yours.
I, for one, would go with PIA as it offers better bang for my buck with its current pricing options.
If you find both services to be lacking in some critical areas for you, check out my recommended VPN service for 2020 – NordVPN.