NordVPN vs Private Internet Access vs 2018

After comparing these VPNs, we have a winner!

 
 

Which VPN is better?

Daniel Krohn
Technical writer, ex-robot manual creator gone privacy enthusiast/VPN expert
To the casual eye, two big players like NordVPN and Private Internet Access (PIA) may seem very much the same. For instance, both providers have been leading the market for years and offer unlimited bandwidth, browser proxy extensions, DNS leak protection, a kill switch, and ad/malware protection. In addition, they both follow a strict no logging policy, though NordVPN has an advantage since – unlike the US-based PIA – it is based in Panama, which does not fall under US jurisdiction laws. Upon taking a deeper look, NordVPN and Private Internet Access are competitively different. Even though NordVPN accepts various payment methods, Private Internet Access is more diverse and offers gift cards. Moreover, NordVPN comes with flashy discounts and attractive price plans, but Private Internet Access offers steady, cheap plans. Although, PIA only offer a 7-day money-back guarantee, whereas NordVPN offers 30 days.
NordVPN’s Tor over VPN server and double encryption (Double VPN) for extra security make it a better VPN for censored countries, like China (even though PIA does allow users to connect to the Tor Network with their VPN). Both VPNs offer a lot of simultaneous connections (5 for PIA and 6 for Nord), and both have thousands of servers to connect to. Understandably, PIA has more servers (3000+) compared to NordVPN’s (2500), but since NordVPN can connect to Netflix and other streaming sites with high speed, it makes it more valuable.
 
Rating
Features
  • 5.0
  • 4.5
Pricing
  • 4.8
  • 4.4
Ease of Use
  • 5.0
  • 4.5
Reliability & Support
  • 5.0
  • 4.5
 

Reviews

Review by our expert

Ariel Hochstadt
Ex-Google, International tech speaker
  • 4.9

NordVPN is surely the most popular VPN provider, but does this mean it is also the best one? What I saw is that they do not have one “killer feature,” but rather a combination of supreme security, careful attention to privacy, and a handy support that’s one click away. For this review, I tried to tackle NordVPN and find flaws in their product, but I’m not sure I succeeded. Sure, I found a few t

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Latest positive user review
Dren
  • 5.0
Very satisfied so far I had been carefully exploring VPN subscriptions from different providers and came to the last two. ExpressVPN and Nord. Had trials on both. Nord is a winner. Stable so far, quick too. And with the 3 year deal, it became my next shield for the future 3 years.
Latest negative user review
Stephan Zuber
  • 1.0
375 Mbps reduced to 12 Mbps Great in the first 30 days then extreme bandwidth issues after committing to the 2-year plan. Technical support is largely scripted within a 'defer and delay' paradigm. Bandwidth degraded to 12Mbps (of 375Mbps). Same 'troubleshooting' approach on each of my 3 interactions with their 'technical support'. Strict adherence to a 'no problem on our side' mentality. These guys will send you on every fool's errand in their playbook until you accept the bandwidth capping or leave. Switched to ExpressVPN and have not looked back.
Review by our expert

Sarit Newman
Content Manager & Internet Security Writer
  • 4.4

I found PIA very simple to install on Windows and Android and, although I didn’t try it out, would assume a similar standard for other platforms, like Linux and Mac. While it isn’t the fastest VPN out there, speeds are consistent, with a little more latency in areas where there are fewer servers, such as Hong Kong and Australia. While I found it a little frustrating that PIA doesn’t enable u

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Latest positive user review
Cerkaz
  • 5.0
Perfect vpn It's cheap, it works, super fast connection. Only downside is that you can't stream Netflix, sometimes they renew the IP's but else you can't. The UI is super nice and quick, not a big ugly box each time you open the vpn.
Latest negative user review
John L
  • 1.0
Very Poor I joined today but I couldn't connect to the internet. I sent an email asking for assistance but hours later I hadn't had a reply. I have cancelled my membership & asked for a refund since I've never used PIA. I did get a reply after I'd cancelled with the excuse that they'd been extremely busy which didn't bode well.
Latest positive user review
Dren
  • 5.0
Very satisfied so far I had been carefully exploring VPN subscriptions from different providers and came to the last two. ExpressVPN and Nord. Had trials on both. Nord is a winner. Stable so far, quick too. And with the 3 year deal, it became my next shield for the future 3 years.
Cerkaz
  • 5.0
Perfect vpn It's cheap, it works, super fast connection. Only downside is that you can't stream Netflix, sometimes they renew the IP's but else you can't. The UI is super nice and quick, not a big ugly box each time you open the vpn.
Latest negative user review
Stephan Zuber
  • 1.0
375 Mbps reduced to 12 Mbps Great in the first 30 days then extreme bandwidth issues after committing to the 2-year plan. Technical support is largely scripted within a 'defer and delay' paradigm. Bandwidth degraded to 12Mbps (of 375Mbps). Same 'troubleshooting' approach on each of my 3 interactions with their 'technical support'. Strict adherence to a 'no problem on our side' mentality. These guys will send you on every fool's errand in their playbook until you accept the bandwidth capping or leave. Switched to ExpressVPN and have not looked back.
John L
  • 1.0
Very Poor I joined today but I couldn't connect to the internet. I sent an email asking for assistance but hours later I hadn't had a reply. I have cancelled my membership & asked for a refund since I've never used PIA. I did get a reply after I'd cancelled with the excuse that they'd been extremely busy which didn't bode well.
 

Pricing

Starting price $2.75/ month $3.33/ month
Money Back Guarantee (Days) 30 7
Devices per license 6 5
See plans & pricing See Plans See Plans
 

Best VPNs by category

Best VPNs Overall width="172" width="172" Despite its impressive features and prices, it is hard for Private Internet Access to surpass NordVPN’s overall performance, reliability and security.
Best VPNs for Torrents width="172" width="172" NordVPN permits torrenting and P2P only on some of its servers, however, Private Internet Access allows P2P activities and torrenting on all servers.
Best VPNs for Windows width="172" width="172" Both VPNs are good for Windows when it comes to encryption. However, for streaming, NordVPN gives you a secure and buffer-free streaming experience.
Best VPNs for Android width="172" width="172" NordVPN’s Android app includes OpenVPN that is set by default, making it more friendly, but less stable (users may experience some disconnections). As for PIA’s Android client, you will need to manually setup an OpenVPN client, but provides more stability.
Best VPNs for MAC width="172" width="172" If you are looking for a strongly encrypted connection, but slightly slower in terms of speed, NordVPN is your guy. However, if you are looking for slightly faster speeds and strong encryption, PIA it is. The difference in speed is barely noticeable if you have a super-fast internet connection.
Best VPNs for iOS width="172" width="172" Unlike PIA, NordVPN sets IKEv2/IPsec by default on its iOS client for better speed and strong encryption.
Best VPNs for USA width="172" width="172" Private Internet Access is based in the US giving it advantage over NordVPN when it comes to unblocking content in USA, but less advantage in terms of privacy since USA is part of the Five-Eyes. On the other hand, if you want to ensure that none of your online activities will fall under US jurisdiction, NordVPN is based in Panama and has plenty of servers in the US which work well with Netflix.
 

 The Bottom Line

Daniel Krohn
Technical writer, ex-robot manual creator gone privacy enthusiast/VPN expert

Despite the fact that both VPNs are solid players in the VPN arena, NordVPN wins this round for better security for apps (built-in OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPsec, double hop), privacy (PIA is based in USA), better refund policy (30 days money-back guarantee compared to PIA’s 7-day money-back guarantee), dedicated servers for streaming, dedicated Tor over VPN server, prices (when discount is applied), friendlier customer support and features such as: Double VPN, obfuscation, double hop. Both VPNs offer unlimited bandwidth, allow P2P and torrenting, work well with Netflix (NordVPN has more dedicated Netflix servers) have kill switches, ad/malware protection as well as IPv6 and DNS leak protection. More Info