PureVPN vs PIA (Private Internet Access)

PureVPN and Private Internet Access (PIA) are two of the best VPN services with large followings. While they’re often compared to one another, the consensus among experts is that PureVPN is better in almost every way. Why? Continue reading to find out.

Comparison

To begin, here’s a comparative table showing all the features each VPN service has:

logo purevpn
PureVPN
logo pia vpn
Private Internet Access
Logging Policy No LoggingNo Logging
Jurisdiction Hong KongUnited States (Five-Eyes Member)
EncryptionAES-256 AES-256
AES-128
SHA-256 Hash Authentication
4096-bit RSA Key Exchange
Protocols OpenVPN UDP
OpenVPN TCP
IPSec/IKEv2
IPSec/L2TP
PPTP
SSTP
OpenVPN UDP
OpenVPN TCP
IPSec/L2TP
WireGuard
Ad and malware blockersYesYes
Kill switchYesYes
Leak TestsNo Leaks FoundNo Leaks Found
Speed TestsFastFast
Torrenting & P2PYes (Optimized P2P Servers)Yes (On all servers)
StreamingNetflix
Amazon Prime
BBC iPlayer
Firestick
Roku (Via Router)
Kodi
Apple TV (Via Router)
Android TV
Netflix
Amazon Prime
Hulu
Firestick
Kodi
GamingWindows
Android
iOS
Xbox One (Via Router)
PS4 (Via Router)
Nintendo Switch (Via Router)
Windows
Android
iOS
Xbox One (Via Router)
PS4 (Via Router)
Nintendo Switch (Via Router)
CompatibilityWindows
macOS
Android
iOS
Linux
Chrome
Firefox
Tor
Selected Routers
Windows
macOS
Linux
Android
iOS
Chrome
Firefox
Opera
Tor
Selected Routers
Simultaneous Connections1010
Servers6500+3300+
ChinaYesSometimes (1 Out of 3 Servers Worked)
Split TunnelingYesYes
Additional FeaturesSecure Wi-Fi
Dedicated IP (Add-On Feature)
Port Forwarding (Add-On Feature)
DDoS Protection (Add-On Feature)
No Additional Features
Prices$10.95/Month
$5.82/Month (1-Year)
$3.33/Month (2-Years)

Special Offer: $0.99 for a 7-day trial plus 47% off for a 1-year subscription
$9.95/Month
$3.33/Month (1-Year)
$2.69/Month (2-Years)

Special Offer: 73% off and 2 months free for a 2-year subscription
Our Rating4.64.3
Websitewww.purevpn.comwww.privateinternetaccess.com

Private Internet Access and PureVPN sure have many differences. As a potential user of either, it’s essential to zoom in on them to determine what VPN provider is actually worth getting. After all, one service may not have something that you’d need to have a superb experience.

Privacy & Security

PureVPN is based in Hong Kong whereas PIA operates from the United States. Between the two, only the former service can operate freely. The latter is obligated to follow restrictive copyright and privacy laws or face permanent closure by the local authorities.

Encryption Comparison

Both services use AES 256-bit encryption. What sets them apart is that Private Internet Access also utilizes AES-128 as a backup. 

Additionally, it employs SHA-512 hash authentication along with an RSA 4096-bit key exchange. At present, what PureVPN uses as equivalents remains undisclosed. However, rumor has it that it uses the same hash authentication and key exchange as its competitor.

VPN Protocols

PureVPN and PIA have support for OpenVPN (UDP & TCP) and IPSec (IKEv2 and L2TP). A thing that differentiates them is that PureVPN exclusively lets you toggle SSTP and PPTP. Meanwhile, PIA allows you to make use of WireGuard, which is very fast and secure.

Leak Protection

Both VPN services proudly claim to provide complete leak protection. Of course, it was only right for me to see if they live up to their claims. I ran a leak test using IPLeak.net to do this.

Here’s how PIA and its Singapore server did:

IP Leak Test – PIA VPN Singapore

IP Leak Test – PIA VPN Singapore

And this is how PureVPN’s server in Japan performed:

IP Leak Test – PureVPN Tokyo

IP Leak Test – PureVPN Tokyo

Fortunately, neither service was lying. Both managed to mask my real IP address with zero hitches whatsoever. Due to that, it’s now possible for me to safely recommend them to anyone who values anonymity and their digital privacy above anything else.

Server Security

Server security is something that all VPN providers must prioritize. If not, they’ll not be the best choice when it comes to trusting your private information with.

Private Internet Access and PureVPN don’t have 100% RAM-based networks. To compensate for this shortcoming, both maintain strict zero-logging policies that prevent them from tracking, collecting, and storing the data of their millions of subscribers.

In Conclusion

The two VPN services provide their subscribers with excellent digital security. However, the winner for this round of our PureVPN vs Private Internet Access is PIA.

I chose PIA because even if it’s based in a Five Eyes Alliance member state, it has no record of ever disclosing private user information to the authorities. On top of that, the service also has support for WireGuard, which is the newest and safest VPN protocol there currently is.

Speed Test

Unfortunately, all VPNs adversely affect internet connection speeds. Luckily, the degree to which PureVPN and PIA do this isn’t as profound as other services. 

Part of the reason why is because the two have unlimited bandwidth. That means none of them put a limit on how much data you can traffic through their thousands of servers.

I had to know which service was faster. For that reason, I ran a speed test while connected to each VPN. Below is a screenshot of the results when I was paired to PIA’s Singapore server:

Speed Test – PIA VPN Singapore

Speed Test – PIA VPN Singapore

Next up, here’s how my connection got changed after my move to PureVPN’s Japanese server:

Speed Test – PureVPN Tokyo

Speed Test – PureVPN Tokyo

The difference in my connection speeds was profound. PureVPN hardly made an impact on my base connection while PIA significantly handicapped it. Because of that, the winner of this crucial round of our PIA vs PureVPN comparison is none other than PureVPN.

Torrenting & P2P

Some VPNs allow torrenting on their servers while others don’t. Luckily, PIA and its competitor both allow you to utilize their networks for the job. The former service even has a fully enabled P2P network while the latter has many optimized servers you can use.

Apart from what’s mentioned, you should also know that both are compatible with every major torrenting client. It doesn’t matter what you’re used to since they can be used alongside Vuze, uTorrent, Deluge, and BitTorrent without any problems whatsoever.

While they certainly have the means to facilitate safe downloading via torrent, it was important for me to know if PIA and PureVPN could protect me. Therefore, I conducted a torrenting leak test while connected to each service. Here’s how Private Internet Access (PIA) did:

Torrenting Leak Test – PIA VPN Singapore

Torrenting Leak Test – PIA VPN Singapore

And this is how PureVPN fared:

Torrenting Leak Test – PureVPN Tokyo

Torrenting Leak Test – PureVPN Tokyo

Just as expected, both services were successful in keeping me safeguarded. However, the winner of this PureVPN vs Private Internet Access match is PIA. How come? It’s the only service between the two that has a fully optimized P2P network for torrenting.

Streaming

For many individuals, VPNs don’t act as protective measures. Instead, they serve as tools that grant access to otherwise unavailable foreign streaming service libraries. Sad to say, not every service can bypass the geoblocks of Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and other streaming platforms.

Thankfully, countless posts on Reddit have given nothing but praise to PureVPN for its ability to easily work around geoblocks. What’s sad is that the same cannot be said for PIA, which has been reported to only provide access to a handful of foreign streaming service libraries.

Netflix

Netflix is by far the most popular streaming website. Therefore, it was only right that I used it to find out the streaming capabilities of both VPNs. Below is a screenshot of the result of my attempt to watch Spotlight on PIA’s server in New York City:

Netflix US – PIA VPN

Netflix US – PIA VPN

And here’s how PureVPN managed when I tried to watch the same title using its US server:

Netflix US – PureVPN

Netflix US – PureVPN

PureVPN and PIA performed equally as well as each other. Each VPN provider allowed me to watch the title that I wanted to. Moreover, they didn’t cause any problems with buffering and quality. If anything, I’d even go as far as to say that my viewing experience was flawless.

Although my Netflix tests ended with success for both services, the winner for this round of our PureVPN vs PIA match is PureVPN. How come? It’s capable of bypassing more streaming service geoblocks, boasts more server locations, and has superior speed capabilities.

Gaming

Private Internet Access along with PureVPN are both options for anyone that wishes to game safely. Both of them can be used alongside desktops, mobile devices, and consoles via compatible routers. Also, they’ve all the essential security features to protect you.

Sad to say, the only VPN service that gave me a decent gaming experience was PureVPN.  Using it, I had no trouble getting into my matches on Call of Duty Mobile. Also, there were absolutely no problems that came about when it came to lagging or drops in FPS.

PIA occasionally caused my game to stutter. In addition, it brought down my frames per second during the most hectic parts of my matches. Due to that, my competitive edge was taken away.

Compatibility

VPNs need to have wide compatibility. After all, without it, a VPN service won’t be able to protect its subscribers on all their devices. Fortunately, the developers of PureVPN and PIA are fully aware of this. They’ve made their clients available on a myriad of platforms.

Refer to the table below to know what each VPN works on:

PureVPNPrivate Internet Access
Windows
macOS
Android
iOS
Linux
Chrome
Firefox
Tor
Selected Routers
Windows
macOS
Android
iOS
Linux
Chrome
Firefox
Opera
Tor
Selected routers

PIA has a slight edge over its rival since it maintains a browser extension for Opera. For that reason, it’s the victor of this round of our PureVPN vs PIA comparison match.

Simultaneous Connections

In today’s industry, few VPNs allow for more than 5 simultaneous connections under a single account. Prime examples include PureVPN and PIA. 

Both of which let you connect up to 10 devices simultaneously with one subscription. Hence, with each service, it’s possible to safeguard your entire family or business.

Winner: Tie

Servers

A VPN with more server locations is better as it’s better at maintaining your anonymity. Besides that, it’s also less prone to getting overloaded. Finally, it offers more options when it comes to connectivity. You shall get to access the version of the world wide web in more locations.

In this regard, PureVPN has the advantage since it operates more than 6500 servers across the globe. Meanwhile, its competitor only has a network that consists of 3300+ servers, which is already impressive because most VPNs have less than 1000 servers.

China

China’s draconian internet censorship measures are an obstacle that only a select handful of VPNs can overcome. In fact, some of the best services available struggle to consistently give their subscribers the chance to access the uncensored version of the internet in the country.

Our testers in China have all found success with PureVPN. Using it, they’ve gotten to access banned websites like Facebook, Reddit, and YouTube reliably. However, the same cannot be said for PIA, which can only sometimes leap over the Great Firewall.

Interface & Usability

Native PIA applications are incredibly minimalistic even on desktops. After opening them, you’ll immediately be greeted with a quick-connect button that pairs you to the best server based on your current location. The settings can be found on the three-done icon on the top right corner.

PIA VPN Interface

PIA VPN Interface

At first glance, PureVPN’s apps look rather straightforward. But, once you finally get to utilize them, you’ll immediately notice their clunkiness. Besides that, their difficulty to navigate shall become apparent. It’s hard to adjust the settings, pick a server, and access special features.

PureVPN Interface

PureVPN Interface

Because it has better applications on all platforms, the winner of this round of our PIA vs PureVPN match is PIA. Using the service, you’ll definitely have a great user experience. Of course, the same can also be said for PureVPN once you get past the learning curve of its native apps.

Additional Features

Sadly, there aren’t any special features that you can take advantage of when using PIA. The reason why is because the service chooses to prioritize the essential offerings that it already boasts such as a kill switch, malware blocker (PIA MACE), and split tunneling. 

PureVPN has one free unique feature called Secure Wi-Fi. For those wondering, it’s a security measure that provides extra protection for anyone who frequently connects to public wifi.

Apart from what’s mentioned above, PureVPN also has three paid add-on features. First are port forwarding and DDoS protection that add one more layer of security to your VPN experience. Next is the ability to establish a personal IP address for max anonymity.

Because it has a lot more to offer than its competitor, the winner of this round of our Private Internet Access vs PureVPN is none other than PureVPN.

Customer Support

PIA and PureVPN both take customer support very seriously. After all, any VPN that doesn’t properly communicate and assists its subscribers in one that’s not worth getting.

Below is a table showing what customer support options the two have:

PureVPNPrivate Internet Access
Live ChatYesYes
Email SupportYesYes
Phone SupportNoNo
Ticket SupportYesYes
Video Tutorials NoNo
Online Knowledge BaseYesYes
Average Response Time1 Hour45 Minutes

PureVPN and its competitor have identical offerings. Both also don’t have phone support and video tutorials available. The one thing that sets them apart is PIA’s better average response time which is slightly better than PureVPN’s. As such, PIA is the winner of this round.

Prices

Pricing is the most important thing to take into consideration when choosing a VPN. After all, no one has an unlimited budget to spend on online security. Thankfully, the two services have a reputation for being some of the most affordable ones that are currently available.

Refer to the table below to know how much each VPN charges:

PureVPNPrivate Internet Access
Subscription Lengths$10.95/Month$9.95/Month
1 Year ($5.82/Month)1 Year ($3.33/Month)
2 Years ($3.33/Month)2 Years ($2.69/Month)
Highest Price Per Month$10.95$9.95
Lowest Price Per Month$3.33$2.69
One Year Price$69.95$39.96
Money-Back Guarantee 31 Days30 Days
Special Offer$0.99 for a free trial plus 47% off for a 1-year subscription73% off and 2 months free for a 2-year subscription

PIA has a reputation for being the best option for people on a low budget. It clearly outmatches PureVPN in this regard. Hence, the winner for this final round is PIA.

Verdict

Is PureVPN better than Private Internet Access?

Yes. PureVPN is absolutely better than PIA. Besides being faster and having greater unlocking capabilities, it also has many more servers and additional features. With that said, PIA is by no means a bad service that’s not worthy of consideration. After all, it has better customer service, compatibility, security, and price. Moreover, its apps are superior as they’re easier to use.

About the author 

Kris Soliongco

Kris has two passions in life: writing and tech. He’s been building computers since he was eight years old and is very knowledgeable about online security. The first time he was exposed to VPNs was in 2016. Since then, he’s used a plethora of services and has gained much experience.

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