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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

Private Internet Access vs. Proton VPN 2024

Table of Contents
    Editor's Note: Transparency and impartiality are important to us when bringing you our best selection of VPNs. Some of the industry-leading products on our list, including Intego, Private Internet Access, CyberGhost, and Expressvpn are owned by Kape Technologies, our parent company. The VPNs we choose are derived from a thorough testing process.

    Which VPN is better?

    Author Image Angela Jovanoska
    Angela Jovanoska

    Cybersecurity Researcher

    At first glance, Private Internet Access (PIA) and Proton VPN appear very similar. Both offer fast speeds and strict no-logs policies. However, there are a few differences you should be aware of before choosing one.

    For instance, PIA’s server network is notably larger, while Proton VPN is based in a more privacy-friendly jurisdiction. To help you decide, I compared the 2 VPNs side by side in various categories, including speed, security, privacy, and pricing.

    After extensive testing, I concluded that PIA is the overall better VPN. It offers specialized streaming servers that make streaming securely and in HD a breeze. It also has stronger security features and is more affordable. Plus, its apps are intuitive and customizable to fine-tune your VPN connection to your specific needs.

    Proton VPN is also a solid option, especially if you prioritize privacy. It has high-performance P2P servers, and its Secure Core servers double up your VPN protection. Plus, it has its own protocol designed to overcome tough VPN blocks. However, its customer support could improve.

    Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings

    Private Internet Access Proton VPN
    Overall Rating Our Score: 9.5/10

    https://www.privateinternetaccess.com/

    Our Score: 9.2/10

    https://www.protonvpn.com/

    💲 Lowest Monthly Price $2.03/month with the 2 year-plan + 3 months free $4.49/month with a 2-year plan
    🗓️ Price on Renewal $56.94 per year
    (subject to change)
    $95.99 per year
    (subject to change)
    🤑 Coupons PIA 83% Off (2 years + 3 free months plan) Proton VPN 55% Off (2-year plan)
    💸 Money-Back Guarantee 30 days 30 days
    📺 Streaming Works with Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Prime Video, and more Works with Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Prime Video, but sometimes requires server switching
    🌍 VPN Servers 91 countries with 29,650 servers 91 countries with 5,567 servers
    Speed 4.5% speed drop on nearby servers and 23% speed drop on long-distance servers 7.5% speed drop on nearby servers and 25% speed drop on long-distance servers
    🎮 Gaming Performance Low ping rate on servers close by, but struggles over long distances Low ping rate on servers close by, but struggles over long distances
    🧑‍🤝‍🧑 P2P Support Yes, on all servers Optimized P2P servers
    🔐 Security Protocols WireGurad, OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec WireGurad, OpenVPN, IKEv2, Stealth
    🔌 Kill Switch Yes Yes
    IP/DNS Leak Protection Yes Yes
    🏢 Based in Country United States Switzerland
    ⚠️ Does VPN Keep Logs No No
    Works in China Maybe No
    #️⃣ Number of Device Connections Unlimited 10
    💻 Device Compatibility Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, routers, and more Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, routers, and more
    🔧 Customer Support 24/7 live chat, knowledge base, FAQs, and email Live chat, knowledge base, FAQs, and email

    .

    Best alternative to Private Internet Access

    Our Score: 9.9

    ExpressVPN is the most reliable VPN I’ve tested. It offers consistently fast speeds for UHD streaming and robust security features. Plus, it comes with a tried-and-tested 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it without risk.

    Streaming — Private Internet Access Wins by a Narrow Margin

    Important: Although a VPN can let you access content that isn’t available in your country, doing so goes against most streaming platforms’ terms of service. What’s worse, it might constitute copyright infringement, which the team and I don’t condone. Both VPNs in this comparison offer no-log policies, so none of your data is stored. So, it’s your responsibility to use any service within the bounds of the law.

    Both PIA and Proton VPN are good for streaming. However, PIA ranks ahead since it offers streaming-optimized servers in 12 countries, including the US, Italy, the UK, Japan, and Australia. These are designed to provide the fastest speeds for streaming in the highest quality.

    Streaming Platform Private Internet Access Proton VPN
    Netflix ✅ Yes, including popular Netflix
    libraries like the US, UK, Canada,
    Japan, South Korea, and Switzerland
    ☑️ Yes, but not as reliable for some
    libraries
    Disney+ ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    ESPN ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    HBO Max ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    Hulu ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    Sky ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    Amazon Prime Video ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    BBC iPlayer ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    ABC ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    CBS ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    NBC ✅ Yes ✅ Yes

    Our team of testers worldwide tested these platforms in the respective countries where they’re available. Our US tester used the US East Streaming Optimized server with PIA and could watch Seinfeld on Netflix US in smooth quality. They also tested other US platforms like Hulu, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video and streamed with zero interruptions.

    PIA East US Streaming server working with US NetflixSeinfeld loaded instantly, and the picture quality remained excellent while streaming

    Proton VPN also worked well with major streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu.

    My US colleagues reported that it took a few attempts to establish a stable connection for some services, though, including Amazon Prime Video. It was only after switching to a different server and browser that it worked for streaming US shows.

    Screenshot of Proton VPN streaming Suits on US NetflixProton VPN’s US servers were fast enough for smooth streaming after establishing a connection

    PIA and Proton VPN gave me good streaming speeds, especially on nearby servers. There was some slowdown at longer distances with both services, but overall, I experienced more buffering with Proton VPN.

    PIA has a Smart DNS service that lets you stream on devices that don’t support VPNs, like smart TVs and gaming consoles. Plus, its website contains a detailed guide on setting it up, too. It didn’t take more than 10 minutes to set it up on my LG smart TV and stream on my big screen.

    Winner
    PIA is the overall winner for streaming. Unlike Proton VPN, it offers servers specialized for reliable domestic streaming. Plus, it provides HD-friendly speeds.

    Server Network — PIA Has One of the Largest Server Networks of Any VPN

    Private Internet Access Proton VPN
    Total Countries With Servers 91 91
    Number of Servers 29,650 5,567

    PIA and Proton VPN both offer a large number of servers, but PIA has one of the largest networks, with 29,650 servers worldwide. It also has servers in all US states.

    The vast majority of PIA’s servers are located across Europe and North America, but other regions, like Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, are also well covered.

    Proton VPN has a much smaller network. Still, its servers are widely dispersed across the globe. It does, however, lack servers in less popular VPN locations, like the Bahamas, Greenland, Panama, Venezuela, Andorra, and China, while PIA covers these regions.

    Winner
    PIA has a significantly larger server network than Proton VPN and most other VPNs in the industry, making it the clear winner in this category.

    Speed — Both VPNs Offer Fast Connections Speeds

    PIA and Proton VPN are both very fast, so there’s no definitive winner in this category.

    I tested both nearby and long-distance locations to find how each VPN performs over time. For the best results, both tests were conducted using WireGuard, each VPN’s fastest protocol.

    Keep in mind that it's normal for a VPN to reduce your speeds by 10–20%, but you should still be able to browse or stream without major interruptions.

    With baseline speeds of 109.88 Mbps, PIA reduced my speeds by only 4% when connected to a nearby UK server.

    Screenshot showing PIA's download and upload speedsThe minor speed loss of only 4% wasn’t even noticeable while streaming and browsing

    Proton VPN performed similarly on local servers — I only experienced a 7% decrease.

    Screenshot showing Proton VPN's download and upload speedsUsing the WireGuard protocol helped maintain fast connection speeds during tests

    PIA’s US server offered faster download speeds, dropping my speeds by only 14%, while Proton VPN lost up to 18%. That said, Proton VPN did perform slightly better on the further away Japan server, with download speeds reaching up to 73.75 Mbps (32% loss).

    Speed Tests PIA Average Download Speed Proton PN Average Download Speed PIA Average Upload Speed Proton VPN Average Upload Speed
    Connected to a US server 94.76 Mbps (14% loss) 89.06 Mbps (18% loss) 13.92 Mbps (7% loss) 12.65 Mbps (11% loss)
    Connected to a UK server 105.25 Mbps (4% loss) 100.61 Mbps (7% loss) 14.04 (6% loss) 13.58 Mbps (5% loss)
    Connected to a Japan server 73.24 Mbps (33% loss) 73.75 Mbps (32% loss) 11.99 Mbps (20% loss) 10.17 Mbps (29% loss)
    Winner - draw
    /
    PIA and ProtonVPN deliver pretty similar speeds overall, making this category a tie.

    Torrenting — PIA Allows Torrenting on All Its Servers

    PIA allows P2P file sharing on all its servers, so you can simply connect to your closest server for the best speeds possible. It also offers a SOCKS5 or Shadowsocks proxy connection, but this is on top of a VPN connection (multi-hop). While this is useful for added privacy, it’s not the best for speeds.

    Proton VPN offers specialized P2P servers that are optimized for torrenting, with nearly 200 spread across 20 countries.

    The slight drawback is that if you’re not located close to these countries, you may experience slowdowns while torrenting. Proton VPN claims that you can also torrent on its non-P2P optimized servers, but this can lead to errors and a P2P redirect as not all of Proton VPN’s data centers support P2P sharing.

    Both VPNs offer a port forwarding feature that allows you to connect to more torrenting peers for faster speeds. Port forwarding isn’t available on any of PIA’s US servers, though.

    It took me around 7 minutes to download a 1.5GB file with PIA. When using one of Proton VPN’s P2P-optimized servers, it took roughly 10 minutes to download the same file. This is close to the time without a VPN connection.

    My team and I don’t condone any illegal activities, and downloading copyrighted material is illegal almost everywhere. So you should check your local law and torrent responsibly.

    Winner
    PIA is more convenient for torrenting as it allows P2P sharing on all its servers and gave me slightly faster torrenting speeds, so it’s the winner in this category.

    Gaming — Private Internet Access Has Slightly Lower Ping Rates

    To see how each VPN performs for gaming, I looked at the ping rate on both nearby and long-distance servers. The lower the ping, the better results you will get. For smooth gaming, it should stay below 100 ms.

    To get accurate results, I played a fast-paced online game — Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

    Overall, PIA performed better, as it gave me a slightly lower ping on both nearby and long-distance servers. For instance, the fastest server for my location gave me a ping of 62 ms. With the UK server, it increased to 73 ms, which was still fast enough for lag-free gaming.

    Private Internet Access (WireGuard) Proton VPN (WireGuard)
    Quick Connect 62 ms 68 ms
    Connected to a US server 123 ms 139 ms
    Connected to a UK server 73 ms 81 ms
    Connected to a Hong Kong server 302 ms 341 ms

    Screenshot of playing CSGO while connected to the closest PIA serverI connected to the closest PIA server for the optimal gaming experience

    Winner
    PIA gave me lower ping rates, making it the overall better VPN for gaming.

    Security — Private Internet Access Comes Out On Top Thanks to its Customizable Security

    PIA and Proton VPN are both very secure, but PIA offers more customizable security features. That said, Proton VPN is also highly secure, with all the security features you’d expect from a premium VPN.

    Security Feature Private Internet Access Proton VPN
    Encryption level AES-256-GCM with 4096-bit DH key, SHA-512 HMAC authentication AES-256-GCM with 4096-bit DH key, SHA2-384 HMAC authentication
    Kill Switch All operating systems All operating systems
    DNS/IP Leak Protection Yes Yes
    Protocols OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, WireGuard, IKEv2/IPSec OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, WireGuard, IKEv2, Stealth
    Split Tunneling Yes Yes
    Private DNS servers Yes Yes
    Tor Over VPN servers No Yes
    RAM-only servers wipes data Yes No
    Ad & malware blocker Yes Yes
    Multi-hop servers Yes — VPN + proxy Yes — Secure Core
    Dedicated IP addresses Yes For business use only
    Obfuscation technology Yes Yes

    PIA is one of the few VPN’s VPNs that lets you choose your encryption level. You can choose between the default AES 128-bit encryption or 256-bit. 128-bit encryption is ideal for streaming as it gives faster speeds, but 256-bit boosts your security.

    Screenshot of PIA's app where you can select the level of encryptionYou can only customize your encryption when using the OpenVPN protocol

    For added protection, both VPNs use Perfect Forward Secrecy. This feature continuously changes your encryption key, so even if the most recent key is compromised, only a minimum amount of data will be exposed.

    A unique Proton VPN security feature is Secure Core — similar to a double VPN or multi-hop feature. These are specialized servers that double your encryption by routing your traffic through 2 VPN locations instead of one. One of which will always be a Secure Core server.

    Screenshot of the Proton VPN app showing its Secure Core serversProton VPN’s Secure Core servers are scattered across Switzerland, Iceland, and Sweden

    On the other hand, PIA lets you route your traffic through a VPN plus proxy server (SOCKS5 or Shadowsocks), adding an extra layer of protection. It also offers much better speeds than traditional double VPN servers, so it’s a great option if you want extra security without compromising speeds.

    For a small monthly fee, PIA offers a dedicated IP address that only you can use. Unlike shared IPs, dedicated IPs remain the same every time you connect, so it’s less likely you get blocked by certain websites. Proton VPN offers this feature for business accounts but not for personal VPN users.

    Another difference between the 2 VPNs is that PIA uses RAM-only servers, while Proton VPN has full disk encryption. Generally speaking, a RAM-only network is considered safer, as it means all your data is wiped from the server upon every reboot.

    Finally, both VPNs offer ad and malware blockers — PIA’s is called MACE, and Proton VPN’s NetShield. Both are decent services that can successfully block malware and trackers but aren’t as effective at blocking ads. Still, I recommend keeping them on while using either VPN, as they can at least stop malware from entering your device.

    Winner
    Overall, PIA wins as it offers more unique security features and is highly customizable.

    Privacy — Proton VPN is Based in a More Privacy-Friendly Jurisdiction

    Both PIA and Proton VPN have strict no-log policies that have been independently audited.

    PIA only retains information necessary to maintain its service, such as your email address and payment data, which is common practice among most VPNs. In 2022, an independent audit conducted by Deloitte proved PIA really stands behind its no-logs claims.

    Screenshot of PIA's privacy policy claiming it collects zero logsYou can create a new temporary email address for added anonymity

    Also, both VPNs release regular transparency reports that offer information on the number of court orders they have received and complied with.

    Proton VPN only collects the information necessary to create your account and stores no sensitive information, like your IP address or browser history. Its no-logs policy was also proven true by a 2022 audit conducted by Swiss auditing firm Securitum.

    However, Proton VPN comes out on top thanks to its privacy-friendly jurisdiction in Switzerland. This country has strong privacy laws and is outside the data-sharing 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances.

    On the other hand, PIA is headquartered in the US which is one of the founding members of the Alliance. Still, it’s reassuring that PIA’s privacy policy has been verified by both an independent audit and in a real-life scenario (in 2018, the FBI requested information on one of its users, but PIA had nothing to share).

    Winner
    Proton VPN wins this round since it’s based in Switzerland, which is a more privacy-friendly jurisdiction than the US, where PIA is headquartered.

    Works in China — Neither VPN Is Reliable for China

    Although both VPNs offer obfuscation technology — PIA through Shadowsocks and Proton VPN via its Stealth protocol — neither of them was proven reliable for China.

    A PIA support representative confirmed through its live chat that the VPN cannot be used reliably in China. It might work at times, but not always. Similarly, Proton VPN states on its official website that, as of 2019, it has been officially banned by the Chinese government.

    However, unlike Proton VPN, PIA offers servers in mainland China, so if you want to use a Chinese IP address, PIA is your best option. On the other hand, Proton VPN does have servers in Hong Kong.

    Winner - draw
    /
    Neither PIA nor Proton VPN works reliably in China, so there’s no definitive winner in this category.

    Installation & Ease of Use — PIA’s Desktop App is One of the Most Intuitive I’ve Tested

    Both VPNs are compatible with all the major operating systems and devices, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Windows, and iOS. I downloaded each VPN from its official site, and installation took only a few minutes.

    Despite its many customization options, PIA is very intuitive and user-friendly, both on desktop and mobile. All you need to do to connect is click the large power button. Clicking on the small map next to the server name opens a list of all the servers.

    Screenshot of PIA's Windows app showing the main interface and the list of serversBy default, the PIA Windows app runs in the system tray, but you can change this if you prefer

    Clicking on the heart icon next to each server makes it easy to find it for later use. The latency is also displayed so you can quickly find the server with optimal speeds. The Choose automatically option at the top of the server list automatically connects you to the server with the lowest latency.

    The settings menu opens up a range of options that you can use to customize your connection. The good news is that you don’t need to be familiar with any of these advanced settings to start using the VPN, as PIA comes pre-configured and ready to use out of the box.

    Proton VPN is also easy to navigate. Immediately after logging in, you see a large map interface where all the locations the VPN has servers in are marked by a triangle.

    Screenshot of Proton VPN's Windows client showing the map interface and main menuProton VPN’s Windows app is the most feature-rich out of all other available clients

    There’s also a Quick Connect option that immediately connects you to the fastest server for your location.

    One unique feature is that Proton VPN lets you create multiple profiles on your account. For each profile, you can select the protocol used, the country, and the specific server you want to connect to. For instance, you can use a P2P server on your torrenting profile and a Secure Core server on your work profile for added security.

    Winner
    PIA is a bit more intuitive than Proton VPN, and Proton VPN’s app is a little bulkier.

    Reliability & Support — Private Internet Access Has a 24/7 Live Chat Option

    Customer Support Features Private Internet Access Proton VPN
    24/7 Live chat Yes, responds immediately Live chat is only available for customers
    Email support Yes Yes
    Phone support No No
    Step-by-step setup guides Yes Yes
    Searchable knowledge base Yes Yes
    Exhaustive FAQ section Yes Yes

    If you need help while using PIA or Proton VPN, both VPNs have multiple support options. PIA offers support through 24/7 live chat, a ticket request system, and a comprehensive online knowledge base.

    With PIA’s 24/7 live chat, there’s no need to enter any personal information — simply click on the Transfer to Agent button, and you’ll be instantly connected. Any time I had a question, the support agents were knowledgeable and quick to respond.

    On the other hand, Proton VPN’s live chat is only available from 9 AM to 5 PM CEST, and it’s only available to paying subscribers. However, when I tested it, the support agent was informative and provided instant answers to all my questions.

    Winner
    PIA’s 24/7 live chat makes it stand out in this category. It takes no time to get through to an agent, and its representatives are helpful.

    Tips on Choosing Between Private Internet Access and Proton VPN

    PIA and Proton VPN are both excellent VPN services, so it can be a real challenge to choose which one to use. During my tests, I used several criteria to determine which is the overall better VPN, including:

    • Smooth streaming — Many VPNs struggle to work with popular streaming platforms or simply don’t offer fast enough speeds to stream without interruptions. Our team of international testers tried each VPN with their local platforms (including Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and Prime Video) to ensure they work reliably.
    • Fast speeds — No matter what you plan to use the VPN for, it can be extremely frustrating if you constantly have to deal with lagging and buffering. You should pick a VPN that offers fast speeds for a smooth streaming, gaming, or torrenting experience.
    • Large server network — If the VPN offers a large number of servers worldwide, it’s less likely you’ll experience reduced speeds due to overcrowding. Plus, you’ll get faster speeds if the VPN has servers close to your location.
    • Strong security — Any reputable VPN service should have the basics, such as military-grade AES 256-bit encryption, a reliable kill switch, and strong IP/DNS leak protection. Advanced security features like multi-hop, RAM-based servers, and obfuscation are also good to have.
    • Privacy-friendly — A VPN’s no-logs policy should also be proven true by audits conducted by independent organizations. It’s also a bonus if the VPN is based in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction.
    • Cross-platform support — The VPN should offer user-friendly, intuitive apps for all major platforms, so you can use it on multiple devices with a single subscription.
    • Reliable customer support — It’s best if there’s a 24/7 live chat option available. If that’s not the case, the VPN should at least offer support via email and a comprehensive online knowledge base.
    • Dependable money-back guarantee — A money-back guarantee lets you try out the VPN without risk for a certain amount of time. If you don’t find it suitable for you, you can get a full refund.

    Private Internet Access vs. Proton VPN — Reddit Opinions

    Reddit users have shared mixed opinions about these VPNs, but there’s generally more favor towards PIA. Some users appreciate Proton VPN’s privacy guarantees and security features like Secure Core. Others express dissatisfaction with customer support, speed issues (particularly with Secure Core and Switzerland entry nodes), and problems with the Mac app.

    On the other hand, many users recommend PIA due to its fast speeds, customer support, reliability, and security features. They highlight PIA's stable apps, satisfactory user experience, and minimal connection issues.

    Our Score

    Features 9.5/10
    Pricing 9.5/10
    Ease of Use 9.6/10
    Reliability & Support 9.8/10
    Features 9.2/10
    Pricing 8.6/10
    Ease of Use 9.2/10
    Reliability & Support 9.0/10

    Reviews

    Review by our expert
    Author Image Keira Waddell
    Keira Waddell

    Senior Writer

    Our Score: 9.5/10

    Private Internet Access (PIA) offers one of the cheapest VPN subscriptions, starting at just $2.03/month. With such a low price, I wondered whether PIA could really stand out against its higher-priced competitors. However, it prides itself on a 10-plus-year reputation of being safe and trustworthy, so it’s also one of the best-value VPNs available. I’ve used PIA for a while and have examine...

    Read all
    Latest positive user review
    E
    Ez
    10.0/10
    Best VPN Out on The Market

    I like PIA VPN the best for the following reasons: ● It's a reliable and trustworthy policy; they don... 't record anything harmful to you; strict no logs. ● I've been using it for one month and there are specific times when it speeds up my internet speed (varies by internet) ● It's a distinctive feature of DIP (dedicated IP) - I think not many popular VPNs have this feature, I also purchased this feature to avoid getting the captcha verification and it never showed up ever since. It's only been a month using this VPN but as I gain more experience with this client, I'm pretty sure I will find more good features and utilize them. Thanks for having read my review:)More

    Latest negative user review
    M
    Mike Johnson
    2.0/10
    PIA no longer works on Amazon Fire devices.

    I have used PIA for several years with no issues. Currently, amazon fire devices can no longer sign i... n to the account. Used on 3 TVs with 3 different fire devices with the same result. There is no way to resolve the issue.More

    Review by our expert
    Author Image Lawrence Wachira
    Lawrence Wachira

    Senior Writer

    Our Score: 9.2/10

    Proton VPN, from the creators of ProtonMail, claims to prioritize your online privacy even on its free tier. It also purports to offer fast speeds and specialty servers. You'll struggle to find a VPN with better security and privacy credentials, but how does it compare with the biggest players in the game? To determine this, I thoroughly analyzed Proton VPN, exploring its privacy policy, owners...

    Read all
    Latest positive user review
    A
    Anonymously
    10.0/10
    ProtonVPN Transparent

    I have used many VPNs but ProtonVPN is more convenient because of its transparency. Support, Valuing t... he Community, Answering Questions is what makes me trust them. For the technical side, I haven't found any problems. I tested many servers, all using DNSSec. The Stealth invisibility feature is very useful I have tried it in one of the countries I visited (some providers block vpn networks).More

    Latest negative user review
    A
    Anonymously
    6.0/10
    My Proton VPN Review

    I can say that ProtonVPN is better than other VPNs, it is fast, connect up to 10 devices, a no-log pol... icy that is very secure, and unblock Netflix and Hulu. I don't need Support very much, because I can do everything by myself and on Google. 123More

    Pricing

    Private Internet Access Proton VPN
    Starting Price $2.03/month $4.49/month
    Price (On Renewal) $56.94 per year
    (subject to change)
    $95.99 per year
    (subject to change)
    Money Back Guarantee (Days) 30 days 30 days
    Number of devices per license Unlimited 10
    Router Setup (for Unlimited Devices) Manual setup Manual setup

    PIA is generally cheaper than Proton VPN. Both VPNs offer short- and long-term plans that you can choose from, with the long-term ones usually being more affordable.

    Proton VPN is reasonably priced, but it’s more expensive in the long term. As with any VPN, you’ll save more the longer you sign up for. The price also increases quite a bit upon renewal.

    Unlike PIA, Proton VPN offers a forever free plan. It’s a good way to try out the service for free and is one of the few free VPNs that don’t limit your data. Still, compared to Proton VPN’s paid plans, it’s severely limited as it only has free servers in 6 countries.

    PIA offers 30-day money-back guarantees with all its plans, so you can try it without financial risk. The same applies to Proton VPN.

    Winner
    While both VPNs are reasonably priced, PIA is cheaper and offers better value for money overall.

    Best VPN by Category

    Best VPN Overall

    PIA is a better overall VPN thanks to its huge global server network, strong security, and excellent local streaming abilities. It offered better results than Proton VPN in most of my tests, so it’s my recommended VPN.

    Best VPN for Torrents

    PIA is a better option for torrenting, as it allows P2P sharing on all its servers. Proton VPN has optimized torrenting servers that are located in multiple countries worldwide, but you may experience slowdowns if there isn’t a P2P server close by.

    Best VPN for Windows

    PIA’s Windows app is one of the most customizable I’ve used. It lets you choose your encryption level, set up your own custom DNS settings, and establish an additional proxy connection. Meanwhile, Proton VPN’s Windows client is the only one that lacks access to its Stealth protocol.

    Best VPN for Android

    PIA has its own incognito browser for Android devices called InBrowser that automatically deletes all your history and data each time you log off. This is a unique feature that give PIA the edge.

    Best VPN for Mac

    Proton VPN has a unique feature for Mac called Notify unprotected network. It immediately alerts you when it detects an unprotected Wi-Fi network. Meanwhile, PIA’s Windows app is very similar to its Windows equivalent.

    Best VPN for iOS

    With PIA, you can enable Safari Content Blockers to get rid of ads and trackers when using the VPN on your iOS device. PIA’s incognito browser is also available on iOS.

    Best VPN for USA

    PIA is the only VPN to offer servers in all US states. This means you can always connect to a fast local server, no matter which state you’re in. Our US testers recorded great speeds across its US servers, and they worked seamlessly with the country’s streaming platforms.

    Editors' Note: Private Internet Access and this site are in the same ownership group.

    The Bottom Line

    Despite being based in a 5-Eyes country, PIA is the overall winner of this VPN comparison. It has one of the largest server networks in the industry, offers more security features, and its specialized streaming servers give you quality connections for enjoying your local content.

    Plus, it allows torrenting on all its servers and is cheaper than Proton VPN in the long term. The best part is that it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try PIA completely risk-free.

    Proton VPN is also a good VPN service, though, especially if you’re privacy conscious, as it’s based in one of the best VPN jurisdictions in the industry.

    FAQ

    Is Private Internet Access better than Proton VPN?

    Although both VPNs are solid options, PIA ranked higher overall than Proton VPN in my tests. It offers great speeds for seamless, secure streaming, has one of the largest server networks of any VPN, supports torrenting on all its servers, and offers more security features. Plus, it's very easy to use and more affordable than Proton VPN in the long term.

    Is Private Internet Access faster than Proton VPN?

    Both PIA and Proton VPN have impressive speeds when used with WireGuard, so it’s a tie. During tests, PIA had slightly faster download speeds on nearby servers, while Proton VPN had better upload speeds on nearby connections. Both VPNs performed similarly when tested on long-distance servers in the US and Japan.

    Still, if speed is your top priority when looking for a VPN service, I recommend ExpressVPN as it’s the fastest VPN I’ve tested. During my years using ExpressVPN, its speeds have remained consistently fast over short and long distances.

    Is Private Internet Access safer than Proton VPN?

    Both are secure VPN services, but PIA has more security features and is more customizable. It lets you choose your encryption level, and unlike Proton VPN, its network is entirely RAM-based, which means your data is automatically wiped from the server with each reboot.

    That said, Proton VPN is based in Switzerland, which is a more privacy-friendly country than the US, PIA’s headquarters. However, both VPNs have strict no-logs policies that have been proven by third-party audits.

    Do Private Internet Access and Proton VPN offer any deals?

    Yes, both PIA and Proton VPN offer occasional deals and discounts. You can look up their current deals here.

    We review vendors based on rigorous testing and research but also take into account your feedback and our affiliate commission with providers. Some providers are owned by our parent company.
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    vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

    About the Author

    Angela is a tech content writer with a keen interest in data protection and cyber threats. She enjoys researching and writing about the latest cybersecurity trends and believes strongly in the importance of online privacy.