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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.

Surfshark vs Private Internet Access (PIA) 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 James Everard
    James Everard

    Senior Writer

    Private Internet Access (PIA) has a technical and feature-rich app that certainly gives it a sophisticated appearance. Conversely, Surfshark seems fun and quirky with its aquatic branding. But take a closer look, and you’ll find two VPNs with impressive security credentials and an extensive array of features. So, how can you decide between the two before committing to a subscription?

    The glaring difference between PIA and Surfshark is the size of their server networks. PIA’s 29,650 servers give it a considerable advantage over Surfshark, with just 3,200. And while Surfshark’s app is impressive, it doesn’t come close to PIA’s feature-rich interface.

    If you want to test the winner, PIA offers a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it for free. If you don’t like it, you can easily claim a refund and test Surfshark instead.

    Short on Time? Here Are My Key Findings

    PIA Surfshark
    Overall Rating Our Score: 9.5/10

    www.privateinternetaccess.com/

    Our Score: 9.3/10

    www.surfshark.com

    💲 Lowest Monthly Price $2.03/month for a 2-year subscription + 2 free months $2.19/month on your first 2-year subscription + 2 free months
    🗓️ Price on Renewal $56.94 per year
    (subject to change)
    $59.76 per year
    (subject to change)
    🤑 Coupons PIA 83% Off (24-month plan + 4 months free) Surfshark 86% Off (24-month plan + 2 months free)
    💸 Money-Back Guarantee 30 days 30 days
    📺 Streaming Works with Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Max, ESPN, Discovery Plus, iPlayer, and more Works with Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Max, ESPN, Discovery Plus, iPlayer, and more
    🌍 VPN Servers 91 countries with 29,650 servers 100 countries with 3,200 servers
    Speed 4% drop on nearby servers 5% drop on nearby servers
    🎮 Gaming Performance 9ms ping on nearby servers 10ms ping on nearby servers
    🧑‍🤝‍🧑 P2P Support Yes, on all servers Yes, on specific servers
    🔐 Security Protocols WireGuard, OpenVPN (UDP and TCP, 128 and 256-bit encryption), IKEv2 WireGuard, OpenVPN (UDP and TCP, 256-bit encryption only), IKEv2
    🔌 Kill Switch Yes, plus advanced option Yes
    IP/DNS Leak Protection Yes Yes
    🏢 Based in Country The US The Netherlands
    ⚠️ Does VPN Keep Logs No No
    Works in China Maybe (not guaranteed) Maybe (not guaranteed)
    #️⃣ Number of Device Connections Unlimited Unlimited
    💻 Device Compatibility Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and more Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Chrome, Firefox, and more
    🔧 Customer Support Instant 24/7 live chat, searchable knowledge base, FAQs, contact form 24/7 live chat (but you have to go through an AI bot), searchable knowledge base, FAQs, contact form
    Best alternative to Private Internet Access

    Our Score: 9.9

    Whatever your reasons for wanting a VPN, ExpressVPN is an across-the-board winner. It has the fastest speeds I’ve tested and the most advanced proprietary protocol on the market. Plus, every server supports streaming, torrenting, gaming, and even obfuscation.

    Streaming — It’s a Draw, Both Are Reliable

    Important: While a VPN can hypothetically let you access content that's not licensed for your country, it's not recommended. The vpnMentor team and I oppose copyright infringement. Both of these VPNs offer strict no-logs policies, so no one can track your online activities. That means it’s your responsibility to respect the copyright laws in your region and the streaming platforms’ terms of use.

    Both VPNs are great for streaming. PIA’s streaming-optimized servers offer reliable and speedy connections in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Italy, the UK, the US, Australia, and Japan. Surfshark was just as reliable, despite the lack of streaming-specific servers.

    Listed below are the platforms tested by my global team and me, all within their licensed locations. Here are the results of how reliably each VPN performed with the platforms:

    Streaming Platform PIA Surfshark
    Netflix ✅ Yes, including popular Netflix
    libraries in the US, UK, Canada,
    Japan, South Korea, and Switzerland
    ✅ Yes, including popular Netflix
    libraries in the US, UK, Canada,
    Japan, South Korea, and Switzerland
    Disney+ ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    ESPN ✅ Yes ✅ Yes
    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

    Both PIA and Surfshark are excellent choices for streaming, although they have contrasting limitations. For example, neither service works with DAZN. But they offer fast and reliable connections for popular streaming platforms, including Netflix and Disney+ libraries in multiple regions. They also work with Hulu, Max, and iPlayer.

    Screenshot of the PIA app connected to a server in the US while streaming NetflixPIA offers 9 regional specialty streaming servers, but its regular servers also work with many popular platforms

    And while PIA works fine with all the popular UK platforms I tested from within the UK, there were a few niche ones it wasn’t reliable with. Specifically, Sky Go and Sky Sports, both of which worked with Surfshark. My international colleagues confirmed they couldn’t stream RTL or RTE from within their licensed regions, either. So, if you use any of these platforms, Surfshark is the way to go.

    Screenshot of the Surfshark app connected to a server in the UK and streaming BBC iPlayerSurfshark and PIA both offer 4 server locations to watch iPlayer, Channel 4, and ITVX securely in the UK

    Winner - draw
    /
    PIA’s streaming servers are easy to use, and its engineers work continuously to ensure they work consistently with popular streaming platforms. On the other hand, Surfshark can stream a few regional platforms that PIA didn't work with at the time of testing.

    Server Network — PIA Offers More Servers By a Mile

    PIA Surfshark
    Total Countries With Servers 91 100
    Number of Servers 29,650+ 3,200

    PIA has a vast global network, particularly in the US, with servers in every state. To put that in perspective, Surfshark’s network is just 10.8% the size of PIA’s.

    True, Surfshark covers more countries, but these are less popular locations, so this might only make a difference to a small percentage of users. The extra countries include Azerbaijan, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia, Brunei, and more (that’s only up to C, but you get the picture). So, if you’re in one of those countries and want fast and reliable speeds, Surfshark could be a good option.

    For everyone else, you simply can’t ignore PIA’s staggering number of servers spread across the most in-demand locations. Few VPNs come close, so sorry, Surfshark; this one’s a wipeout.

    Winner
    If you’re in a country like Uzbekistan that most VPNs don’t usually cover, then Surfshark’s your choice. Otherwise, take advantage of PIA’s 29,650 servers, including locations in every US state, great for nearby servers and fast speeds from anywhere in the US.

    Speed — PIA Comes Out on Top in Almost Every Case

    For reference, our speed tests were conducted in the UK. PIA proved the winner in 2 of 3 download speed tests, pulling ahead in the UK and US server tests. Although, Surfshark’s Japan server was faster by 6%. That’s the biggest gap between the two services, so download speeds are pretty close.

    Upload speeds are where PIA shows it's better than Surfshark. It’s faster across all 3 tests, with Japan being 39% faster compared with Surfshark. That’s enough to make a real difference when making video calls or uploading photos and videos to socials.

    Speed Tests PIA Average Download Speed Surfshark Average Download Speed PIA Average Upload Speed Surfshark Average Upload Speed
    Connected to a US server 94.76Mbps 90.32Mbps 13.96Mbps 9.71Mbps
    Connected to a UK server 105.16Mbps 102.08Mbps 14.65Mbps 14.40Mbps
    Connected to a Japan server 66.59Mbps 70.49Mbps 12.48Mbps 7.66Mbps

    Screenshot of the Surfshark app over an online speed testSurkshark’s download speeds from Japan were a shade faster than PIA, but its upload and ping were way slower

    PIA also lets you switch encryption levels from the standard 256-bit to the faster 128-bit. 256-bit is the regular level that most VPNs offer. While a touch less secure, 128-bit still makes your data virtually untraceable and provides faster speeds.

    Screenshot of the PIA app connected to a server in the UK over an online speed testI tested PIA using 256-bit encryption, but it’s even faster if you drop down to 128-bit

    Winner
    The key to this victory comes from the previous round. PIA’s huge network means its users are spread across 29,650 servers compared to Surfshark’s 3,200. Another win for PIA.

    Torrenting — PIA’s Huge Network and Fast Speeds are Ideal for Downloads

    These are both excellent VPNs for file sharing, but PIA’s vast network gives it the edge once again. A PIA support agent confirmed that all of its servers support torrenting. On the other hand, you need to type "P2P" in Surfshark's server search bar or contact customer support to find out which servers can be used for downloads.

    I tested both VPNs downloading a 1.97GB copyright-free file, and PIA was quicker by a small margin (both VPNs were using AES 256-bit encryption). Then, I tried PIA's lower encryption level. Admittedly, the 128-bit version only downloaded around 5% quicker. But, if you’re downloading multiple huge files, it could save you plenty of time in the long run.

    Important: Please note that while torrenting is legal in most countries, downloading copyrighted files is illegal. Always ensure the files you’re torrenting are copyright-free or within the public domain.

    Screenshot of the PIA app over a torrent download clientSlow downloads? Switch from OpenVPN UDP to TCP, as it’s usually slower but more stable on unreliable networks

    Winner
    A more extensive network means a lower server load, more options, and a higher chance of nearby locations. Add to that the ability to adjust your balance of speed and security, and torrenting becomes a pleasure with PIA.

    Gaming — PIA Provided Lower Latency for Smooth Gameplay

    It’s another close fight, but once again, PIA takes the win. The US and UK readings are too close to make a realistic difference, but once we get to Japan, it’s game over.

    A ping rate of under 100ms is recommended for a smooth gaming experience, so even PIA’s 264ms isn’t practical. But it gives you some indication of the reach of each VPN. For example, one of PIA’s Toronto servers gave me a ping rate of 88ms, which is acceptable for gaming. By comparison, the 115ms from Surfshark’s Toronto location would make for sluggish gameplay.

    Once again, encryption switching is another power-up for PIA. I recommend using a VPN for all your gaming as it prevents DDoS attacks, but 128-bit encryption is more than enough to keep you safe and gives you faster speeds.

    PIA Surfshark
    Quick Connect 9ms 10ms
    Connected to a US server 78ms 89ms
    Connected to a UK server 9ms 10ms
    Connected to a Japan server 347ms 264ms

    Screenshot of the PIA app connected to a server in Florida over a game of FortniteIf your VPN isn’t fast enough, many online games will drop you out for slowing down the gameplay

    Winner
    PIA’s large server network gives you less congestion and faster speeds. Plus, its app gives you the versatility to customize your connections.

    Security — PIA Wins With Its Wealth of Customizable Features

    I’ll start this round with an honorary mention for Surfshark. It offers Rotating IP, which regularly swaps your IP while your location remains the same. MultiHop lets you custom-pick 2 separate servers from the full list for double encryption. And CleanWeb is an effective ad, tracker, and malware blocker. All of which means Surfshark is a highly secure VPN with impressive features.

    That said, PIA has the most comprehensive range of security features of any VPN I’ve tested. Its MultiHop routes your data through a VPN as well as a proxy while obfuscating your data. The Advanced Kill Switch works by cutting your internet access until you connect to PIA. Meanwhile, the Protocols panel lets you customize your connections via multiple factors.

    Security Feature PIA Surfshark
    Encryption level AES-128-GCM, AES-256-GCM, SHA256 authentication AES-256-GCM
    Kill Switch All operating systems, plus advanced option All operating systems
    DNS/IP Leak Protection Yes Yes
    Protocols WireGuard, OpenVPN (UDP and TCP, 128 and 256-bit encryption), IKEv2 WireGuard, OpenVPN (UDP and TCP, 256-bit encryption only), IKEv2
    Split Tunneling Yes Yes (not on macOS)
    Private DNS servers Yes Yes
    Tor Over VPN servers No, but supports Tor No, but supports Tor
    RAM-only servers wipe data Yes Yes
    Ad & malware blocker Yes (MACE), highly effective Yes (CleanWeb), highly effective
    Double hop servers Yes, VPN plus Shadowsocks/SOCKS5 proxy Yes, MultiHop servers
    Dedicated IP addresses Yes, for an extra fee Yes, for an extra fee
    Obfuscation technology Yes, with MultiHop and Obfuscation Yes, with the automatic Camouflage mode
    Winner
    Both these services offer excellent security and a range of powerful features. But when it comes to really taking control of your connections and customizing your security, PIA is the clear winner.

    Privacy — PIA Has Proven Its No-Logs Claims on Several Accounts

    Both VPNs have headquarters within the 5/9/14 Eyes alliance, with PIA in the US and Surfshark in the Netherlands. Government agencies within these countries have the right to demand that any tech company hand over all user data.

    But in PIA’s case, there will be no data to hand over. It doesn’t even keep error logs or debug information and identifies bugs by testing servers on an isolated network, and its no-logs policy has been court-proven on multiple occasions. Conversely, Surfshark does keep error reports, but you can opt-out if you prefer.

    Both services have a verified no-logs policy, offering reassurance that they will keep your browsing hidden and private. PIA and Surfshark both proved their no-logs claims by undergoing third-party audits (by Deloitte) in 2022. Previous to this, Surfshark traded with the firm but hesitated to have its no-logs policy audited for 4 years.

    Both services accept payments via crypto (PIA via BitPay and Surfshark via CoinGate or CoinPayments). That will prevent either service from storing your credit card details, which some users might not like, although it will be encrypted and inaccessible to anyone looking.

    Winner
    Both VPNs are within the 14 Eyes Alliance, but PIA’s proactive approach to transparency and court-proven no-logs policy edges out Surfshark once again.

    Works in China — Neither Works Reliably

    China operates a highly advanced nationwide security network known as the Great Firewall (GFW). It collects all user data and only allows VPNs that have state approval (they log all your browsing and send it to the government).

    There are no publicly available cases of a visitor ever being prosecuted for using a VPN in the country. China is constantly updating and improving the GFW, though, so no service can claim to work 100% of the time.

    Both VPNs freely admit on their websites that they try to offer a reliable service in China but make no guarantees. PIA’s MultiHop connections have worked in the past, as has Surfshark with its Camouflage mode obfuscation and NoBorders feature. However, both are currently going through periods of downtime, so it’s hard to tell if they work for certain.

    There are other VPNs that put more resources into offering a reliable service in China, so I recommend taking a look at those if you’re planning a trip to the country.

    Winner - draw
    /
    The government of China doesn’t share data about how it operates the GFW, so it’s not possible to say which VPN will work most effectively in the future.

    Installation & Ease of Use — Surfshark’s Apps Are Simpler to Navigate

    In terms of installation, there’s nothing between PIA and Surfshark. You can download and set up either within 2 minutes, and the apps are pre-configured to work straight away.

    Screenshot of the Surfshark app showing its UII like that the app shows recently used servers so you can set up one-click connections

    Personally, I’m a fan of Surfshark’s UI. It’s clean and modern, and I didn’t have to spend ages looking for the settings I needed. Plus, the indicators for CleanWeb, Kill Switch, and NoBorders in the connection box are shortcuts to the full settings menu, so it won’t take you long to reconfigure the app if you need to.

    Screenshot of the PIA app showing its UIYou can also expand the PIA app with the down arrow to see more information about your connection

    One thing that the PIA app has going for it (compared to Surfshark) is that it takes up minimal real estate on your screen, but that’s about it. There are a ton of options that you might need to dive into, and the settings panel has 10 submenus. All this makes it a favorite among techies, but PIA isn’t the best option for VPN newcomers.

    Winner
    Both VPNs are quick and easy to set up and install. But once you launch the apps, Surfshark is easier to navigate by some distance.

    Reliability & Support — PIA Connects You Straight to a Live Agent

    Customer Support Features PIA Surfshark
    24/7 Live chat Yes, click the chat widget at the bottom right of the website. A live agent should respond within seconds Yes, but it’s tricky to find, and you have to go through an AI bot before talking to an agent
    Email support Yes, via a form on the site Yes, via a form on the site
    Phone support No No
    Step-by-step setup guides Yes Yes, with video tutorials
    Searchable knowledge base Yes Yes
    Exhaustive FAQ section Yes Yes

    Support is another area in which PIA is better than Surfshark. The chat widget is clearly visible on the bottom right of every page on the PIA website, and an agent usually responds within seconds.

    It’s not as simple with Surfshark as you have to navigate to a specific web page. On the homepage, click Resources > Help Center, then scroll down and click the Chat with us button. Once you key in your query, a chatbot will try to answer your question. It will then offer to transfer you to an agent. It only takes a minute, but it’s a waste of that minute.

    Winner
    PIA has some complex features, so it’s reassuring to know that its support is so quick and knowledgeable. Surfshark is fine, but finding the chatbox needn’t be a game of hide and seek.

    Tips on Choosing Between Surfshark and Private Internet Access

    During my extensive testing process, I rigorously compared both Surfshark and Private Internet Access across various metrics.

    • Smooth streaming. Many VPNs don’t work with streaming platforms. Even if they do, they may not have speeds that support reliable streaming. I used different services in my region (like Netflix UK and BBC iPlayer) to gauge this capability. In theory, it’s possible to use a VPN to access a library from abroad. However, doing so may constitute copyright infringement and violate the platform’s terms of use. We don't condone this.
    • Fast speeds. High-speed connections are essential for data-heavy online activities like downloading, gaming, video calls, and file uploads. I conducted speed tests by connecting to various servers worldwide throughout the day.
    • Server networks. A vast server network ensures you can connect from anywhere, increasing reliability and options and reducing crowding. Plus, more servers means you’re more likely to find a nearby connection for faster speeds.
    • Robust security features. Security is paramount when choosing a VPN. I assessed the in-built security features, including encryption, IP/DNS leak protection, and kill switches. Both VPNs employ AES-256-bit encryption.
    • Respectable privacy practices. Your online privacy depends on the VPN's commitment to keeping no logs. Independent verification ensures trust and means your privacy is protected.
    • Easy to use. A user-friendly interface ensures a hassle-free experience. I downloaded and navigated both apps on different devices to gauge ease of use. Your choice will depend on how technical you want your app.
    • Trustworthy money-back guarantee. You shouldn’t have to commit to a lengthy subscription without testing the VPN for yourself. Surfshark and PIA offer reliable money-back guarantees, so you can get a refund if you’re not happy with your choice.

    Surfshark vs Private Internet Access — Reddit Opinions

    Reddit posters praise PIA’s reliability, speed, and security. Many users report that Surfshark can become less reliable and that customer support doesn’t always fix fundamental problems with the service. Another common theme I found is that many Redditors prefer Surfshark over PIA for fast and reliable streaming in HD and UHD quality.

    Screenshot of a Reddit post bemoaning the long-term reliability of SurfsharkMany replies about VPNs on Reddit point to ExpressVPN as the most reliable overall service

    Our Score

    Features 9.5/10
    Pricing 9.5/10
    Ease of Use 9.6/10
    Reliability & Support 9.8/10
    Features 9.3/10
    Pricing 8.7/10
    Ease of Use 9.4/10
    Reliability & Support 9.8/10

    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 Keira Waddell
    Keira Waddell

    Senior Writer

    Our Score: 9.3/10

    With VPNs, you tend to get what you pay for. So when I saw Surfshark’s low prices, I was skeptical about its rave reviews. To see if it could actually live up to these claims, I tested every aspect of Surfshark, including its speeds, security features, streaming abilities, network reliability, and device compatibility. I also took a closer look at Surfshark’s privacy policy to verify its v...

    Read all
    Latest positive user review
    L
    Lucas Pinto Ricardo
    10.0/10
    Fast, reliable and unlimited

    This VPN is fast and reliable. It has a lot of servers in different countries and can be used in an un... limited amount of devices (it supports Linux, which is something very important for me). The software and app get updated regularly: note that I experienced some bugs with the auto-connect feature on Android that have been solved since then. With this competitive pricing, I would definitely recommend it. IMPORTANT NOTE: I am not including the customer support in this review, because I never had to use it. If I use it in the future, I will update this review with my experience. I recommend you to see other reviews that include it if it is important for you.More

    Latest negative user review
    T
    Tim S.
    2.0/10
    Don't waste your money on dedicated IP

    While the generic Surfshark servers work well, the dedicated IP is worse than useless. With it, I get ... constant captchas and some websites refuse to connect at all. All is fine once I reconnect to a generic or even free VPN. Support is friendly but hopelessly incompetent at getting the problem fixed. So the dedicated IP works exactly opposite as what is advertised, all while vacuuming money out of your wallet. Stay away.More

    Pricing

    PIA Surfshark
    Starting Price $2.03/month $2.19/month
    Price (On Renewal) $56.94 per year
    (subject to change)
    $59.76 per year
    (subject to change)
    Money-Back Guarantee (Days) 30 days 30 days
    Number of Devices per License Unlimited Unlimited
    Router Setup (for Unlimited Devices) Easy setup, but supports fewer routers than Surfshark Easy setup with tutorials

    With far more features and a considerably more extensive network, you might be surprised to see that PIA is cheaper than Surfshark. Both services offer contracts of 3 lengths, and PIA is more affordable across all.

    Surfshark provides a tiered pricing structure, but I’d stick to Surfshark Starter if you're not interested in additional security features. One and One+ have various add-ons, but they cost more. They include a private search engine, which you can get for free elsewhere — and malware protection, which PIA offers with all subscriptions via MACE.

    Winner
    More features, more customizability, more servers, more connections, less money. PIA’s long-term plan is one of the most affordable subscriptions on the market and offers way more than many expensive services.

    Best VPN by Category

    Best VPN Overall

    Private Internet Access is the top overall VPN due to its robust security features and extensive server network. Its consistent speeds and no-logs policy gives users peace of mind when browsing.

    Best VPN for Torrents

    Private Internet Access is the superior choice for torrenting. Every server in its huge network supports torrenting, and you can even adjust your encryption level to get faster speeds.

    Best VPN for Windows

    Private Internet Access is the better VPN for Windows. It offers a user-friendly app with powerful features for PCs. Its kill switch and customizable security settings make it ideal for desktop users.

    Best VPN for Android

    Private Internet Access is the top VPN for Android. It offers an easy-to-use app packed with features. Its split tunneling and auto-connect options on Android devices are very convenient, and MACE will keep you safe on public WiFi hotspots.

    Best VPN for Mac

    Private Internet Access is the top choice for Mac. Its intuitive interface and wealth of security features ensure you get the best protection for your Mac device. It’s also one of the few VPNs for Mac to offer split tunneling.

    Best VPN for iOS

    Private Internet Access is my pick for iOS. It has a streamlined app with adjustable encryption to ensure your online safety. While it doesn’t have MACE, it does offer a Content Blocker for Safari and a blocklist of dangerous sites and content for your whole iOS device.

    Best VPN for USA

    Private Internet Access wins with ease. It has a vast coverage of servers in the US, with locations in every state. That means you’ll always have a nearby server for fast speeds, wherever you are in the States.

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

    The Bottom Line

    PIA has a larger server network, more settings, more device connections, and better customizability. That makes it superior for most online activities. And it’s the best choice for protecting all your browsing on your devices.

    That said, Surfshark is a solid choice if you’re a VPN beginner and want an easy-to-use app that’s still highly secure. But I’d still recommend you try PIA for free with its 30-day money-back guarantee. If it proves a bit complex, you can always claim a full refund and switch to Surfshark.

    FAQ

    Is PIA better than Surfshark?

    Yes, PIA is generally better than Surfshark. While both VPNs provide solid security and privacy measures, PIA boasts considerably more settings and a larger server network. The extensive reach gives PIA a huge advantage over Surfshark and translates to a better overall user experience. Subsequently, PIA is the superior VPN for most online activities.

    Is PIA faster than Surfshark?

    Yes, PIA demonstrated faster speeds than Surfshark across the board. Speed tests frequently showed PIA having the edge regarding download and upload speeds as well as ping. If you're keen on uninterrupted streaming or efficient online activities, PIA is the more well-equipped and advanced option.

    Does PIA or Surfshark offer any deals?

    Both PIA and Surfshark routinely have promotional offers. We keep an up-to-date list of deals and coupon codes, which are often seasonal or only available for a short time. As is usually the case, PIA currently offers the cheapest plan with a long-term subscription currently available for $2.03/month.

    Which VPN is more trustworthy, PIA or Surfshark?

    PIA wins the trustworthiness badge. With its long-standing reputation and history in the VPN market, PIA has consistently proven its commitment to user privacy and security. Its transparency reports and audited no-logs policy add confidence in its reliability. The policy has also been court-proven on numerous occasions.

    Which is better for Netflix, PIA or Surfshark?

    Both are good for Netflix.PIA consistently works with Netflix in multiple regions, and its more extensive server network ensures less crowding and faster speeds. Plus, you can adjust encryption levels, so even if your speed does drop, you can still take advantage of a speed boost. So in that regard, PIA might be better.

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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

    James conducts rigorous hands-on research and testing to evaluate dozens of VPNs for his articles. He's an advocate for digital freedom.